Massage matters: Therapeutic massage program boasts new location, sees growth

Saralyn Simpson, IV Leader Staff

As therapeutic massage has grown into a new location, the program’s director, Cherie Monterastelli, notes that understanding of the program and the benefits of massage are growing as well.

Therapeutic massage recently moved into the upper gym since its previous location on the East Campus is planned for demolition with the construction of the Peter Miller Community Technology Center.

The massage department has five rooms and includes an office, a classroom, a conference room, a scrub and storage room, and a lab where the students learn and practice massage.

Since the massage program started in January of 1999, Monterastelli said the main misconception is that “massage isn’t health related.”

Actually research now shows massage is very beneficial for both chronic and acute health conditions.  Specific parts of the body may be focused on when working with a client’s specific problem and truly help a client regain health and balance. The fact that it feels so good is just a bonus.
Massage therapy makes one healthier, more relaxed, and provides benefits throughout the entire body, according to Monterastelli.

One student in the program, Amber Ruter, said, “People assume getting a massage is only about pampering them or helping them recover after an injury.”

Another student, Callie Simpson, suggests, “Everyone should get one at least one a month and it will really improve the quality of your life.”
The class also said you don’t know what you’re missing until you get a massage.

Becoming a licensed massage therapist is not an easy task.  Four pre-admission classes are required before admittance into the program which begins in January and ends with graduation in December.

Each student has to complete multiple clinical hours, take business and ethics courses, technique courses, study anatomy and physiology of the human body, the entire musculoskeletal system, pathology and pass national board exams in order to receive a massage license to work in Illinois.

If you are interested in getting massage during the summer and fall, the therapeutic massage students give one-hour relaxing table massages on Wednesday evenings for $20.  Call 815-224-0559 and leave a message to set up an appointment.

If you don’t have an hour, you may be able to get a 15-minute chair massage, which is relaxing and invigorating.

Each student must also complete many hours of homework massages.  If you are interested in a free homework massage call 815-224-0507, leave your name and number and mention you are interested in a homework massage. This information will then be passed on to the students.

Stop by the massage department any time if you would like to look around.  Monterastelli says, “We like visitors!”

If you would like to know more about becoming a massage therapist stop by the department or call for an appointment to discuss career opportunities.