Student of the Month: Carey Rookey

We are excited to congratulate Carey Rookey on being June’s student of the month. Carey’s commitment to her massage education, willingness to listen to advice, and positive attitude are just some reasons why we think she’s an incredible student! Read more about her to find out why she chose to start an education in massage therapy.

Carey Rookey

Why Study Massage Therapy

Before enrolling in our 12-month program, Carey worked as an administrative assistant in a medical care office. She says that she made the switch to massage therapy because she’s always had a passion for helping others and she wanted an education where she could directly make others feel great. After experiencing the healing effects of massage therapy for herself, Carey knew that this was the education she wanted to pursue.

Carey says that she chose Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage because she loved the “small personal atmosphere” here. We’re glad that Carey found us and is able to do what she loves at our school. With our personalized education, we’ve been able to see Carey’s progression in massage. We are so impressed with her dedication to get involved with the resources that are offered here so she can become a better massage therapist. She’s an amazing example to our other students!

Experience at School

Carey is always going above and beyond to make sure that she’s making good progress in her massage techniques. Asking for extra help and listening to feedback with a positive attitude are some of the ways Carey shows her commitment to learning more about massage therapy. We’ve loved seeing Carey improve in something that she feels passionate about. Carey says that meeting other people and helping them feel better is what she loves about her massage education. It really makes a difference when you’re studying something that you love.

Carey says that she draws inspiration from family members and fellow classmates. Having a positive environment where students uplift and inspire each other is one of our main priorities as a school. We know that our students look to Carey as an example as well and we’re so excited that our students can have encouragement from other students to keep learning.

Future in Massage

One of Carey’s favorite parts of the massage industry has been the opportunity to learn more about swedish massages with a holistic approach. We can’t wait for Carey to be able to use what she’s learned in a future career. Carey says that right now she plans on gaining experience in a local spa after graduation. Whatever she decides to pursue, we know she’ll do it with a smile and a hard-working attitude just like she’s done with her education.

Study Massage Therapy With Us

Were you inspired by Carey’s journey in massage therapy? Do you want to learn massage techniques with her and other incredible students? If you love helping others feel good, then massage could be a great path for you. Contact us to find out more about our massage therapy program. We can’t wait to help you get started!

Student of the Month: Amanda Denney

At Onondaga School of Massage Therapy, we love seeing our students progress in their massage therapy education. We always look forward to when we get to highlight them and the hard work they put in our program. This month, we’re spotlighting Amanda Denney. Her positive attitude and dedication to learning massage techniques are just some reasons why she’s an amazing student! Read more to find out more about her and why she chose Onondaga School of Massage.

Amanda Denney

About Amanda

Amanda just started the 15-month day program in April, but she’s already shown amazing progress in her skills as an up and coming massage therapist. Through her positivity and dedication to push herself, we’ve been so impressed with her and can’t wait to see what else she accomplishes during her time with us.

Amanda says that her mom has encouraged her to go after what she’s passionate about. “My mom inspires me”, she says. “I’ve grown up watching her struggle to get by. It pushed me to work so much harder.” We’re so proud of Amanda and the positive example she sets for other students.

Switch to Massage Therapy

Before enrolling in our program, Amanda worked at a local coffee shop. So, why did she decide to begin an education with us? Amanda says that she wanted a career that would feel permanent and she believed she could find that with a future in massage therapy. We are so happy that Amanda is able to do something she loves with us!

Amanda says that she chose to study massage therapy with us because of our convenient location. After signing up for information, Amanda was contacted by our Admissions office and “everything fell into place quickly” after that. We want to help students start doing what they love, and that’s why we strive to guide students through the application process every step of the way. We’re so happy that students like Amanda can get the help they need from our amazing staff!

Passion for Massage

We can’t wait to see what Amanda learns during her time with us. Her dedication to the program and her desire to learn more show her incredible passion for massage. We love seeing our students each find something special about massage that excites them. One of Amanda’s favorite things about massage therapy is that she can learn how to incorporate calmness and relaxation into her everyday work.

Amanda is already looking forward to what she can do after graduation. She says that right now she’s thinking about doing something spa-related, but that could change. With a variety of career options after graduation, Amanda says that the possible career options available is one of her favorite parts about massage. We think it’s great that massage therapy is a growing industry and we look forward to seeing what Amanda chooses to do after she graduates.

Want to Start Your Massage Education?

Were you inspired by this story? If you’re like Amanda and you want to help people feel better, then massage therapy could be a great option for you! Contact us to find out more about our Massage Therapy program and how you can start the application process.

Student of the Month: Theresa Agostinelli

At Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage we love getting to know our students and seeing them work hard to achieve their goals. That’s why we love to highlight one of our students each month! This time we’re spotlighting Theresa Agostinelli from our Rochester campus. Her compassion and determination to help others are just some qualities that make her an amazing student!

Theresa Agostinelli

Meet Theresa

Before studying at Onondaga School of Therapeutic, Theresa was already working in the medical field. She had been working in the nursing field and was most recently a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Rochester. So, what made her switch from nursing to massage therapy?

She said that she wanted to do something that gave her a deeper connection with her patients and that massage therapy is able to do that. Although she loved working with the youth and supporting their health and wellness, Theresa wanted to learn more about the “therapeutic touch” and how it could help her patients both physically and mentally. We’re so happy that Theresa chose us to study something that interests her and encourages a deeper understanding of her patients!

Experience as a Student

Theresa enrolled in our six-month program after touring our campus, and since then she’s loved learning about massage therapy techniques from professionals of bodywork and massage. What makes her a great student is her determination to learn and this shows through her participation in both her science and hands-on massage classes. Theresa wants to be challenged and we love seeing her push herself to be the best massage therapist she can be.

Theresa’s desire to connect with patients is demonstrated in her clinical experience. She takes the time to know her patients and her open-minded attitude allows her to take positive feedback and apply it for future appointments. It’s this level of devotion that allows Theresa to have steady rebooks from patients who know she’s dedicated to making their experience enjoyable.

What Comes Next?

Theresa plans to graduate in June this year and she has big plans for how she can use her new massage therapy knowledge. She wants to continue helping people with their health and well-being, but now she’s excited to use massage therapy as a way to provide that care. Massage therapy is a great way to provide compassionate healing for those who need it and that’s exactly what Theresa plans on doing.

As a caregiver, Theresa would love to support people who would especially benefit from a therapeutic touch. She says that she would love to work with chronically ill patients, women during and after their pregnancy, infants, and anyone else who requires healing. We think this is perfect for someone like Theresa, who has such a caring nature. We’re excited to see what she’ll accomplish!

Want to Know More About Massage

If you have a desire to connect with other people and help them feel better like Theresa, then massage therapy could be a great path for you! Contact us to find out more about our massage therapy program and how you can book a personal tour of our campus!

Student of the Month: Kathy Connor

We would like to congratulate Kathy Connor for being chosen as the April student of the month for our Syracuse campus. Her positive attitude, passion for learning new things, and helping others grow is why she’s an amazing student!

Kathy Connor

Meet Kathy

Before she came to Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, Kathy was no stranger to the medical world and the healing that can come from it. After graduating with an associate’s degree from a nursing program, Kathy worked in a hospital setting for seven years. She also worked in homecare for ten years and taught in the licensed practical nurse (LPN) program at the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) for twelve years. When she decided to retire from nursing, it didn’t take long for her to realize that she still wanted to help people with their health and overall wellness.

For Kathy, massage therapy seemed like the next step in her career path. Learning more about massage therapy has allowed Kathy to also find out more about herself and she’s grateful for the positive learning experiences she’s had. Her determination to approach each challenge with a smile has helped Kathy get the most out of her learning and we love watching her grow as a student!

Passion for Learning

One reason why Kathy is an amazing student is because she’s always excited to learn more about massage therapy so she can help others. Kathy says that she loves to learn all that she can about massage therapy. If she had to pick one area of massage therapy as her favorite, she says that she would choose Swedish Massage. “It’s remarkable how we’re able to incorporate different modalities into a Swedish Massage”, she says. We think it’s amazing that Kathy loves a Swedish Massage because it’s able to teach her so much.

Kathy says that the OSTM staff have all been very supportive and have encouraged her to keep learning more. However, she says that the biggest inspiration for her has been her fellow students. We love watching Kathy interact with other students and seeing how much she cares for others!

What’s Next for Kathy

Kathy has no plans to stop working after she graduates. She hopes to work in a spa setting for at least a year, so she can learn more about the different areas of massage therapy. After learning more about massage therapy, she hopes to help others fulfill their passions by starting a small massage business of her own. She also plans on becoming certified as a lymphedema therapist. With all these options and Kathy’s determined spirit, we can’t wait to see what she will accomplish.

No matter what she does, Kathy wants to help provide a service to others that will make them feel better. She says, “I love helping my clients feel better both physically and emotionally and guiding them to improved self-care.”

Interested in Massage

If you’re like Kathy and you want to help people feel better, then massage therapy could be a great option for you. Contact us to learn more about our massage therapy program and how you can start the application process.

What is Orthopedic Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is well-known for reducing pain and alleviating stress. For people with orthopedic conditions, massage therapy can be even more beneficial. Whether they’re an athlete pushing their bodies to compete in a sport or they’ve suffered from a disorder or injury, massage therapy can help people with aches in the skeletal structure. Massage focused on orthopedic pathologies has a variety of benefits. Learn more about orthopedic massage and why it’s so important!

Orthopedic massage centers around the tissues and muscles that surround the joints of the body. This type of massage therapy focuses on alleviating pain and easing out any tension in these areas. While it works on restoring balance, orthopedic massage also helps prevent further injury. People usually seek help from an orthopedic massage therapist after experiencing soft tissue pain or an injury involving the muscles or ligaments.

Athletes will commonly require this type of therapy because of pain from an overuse strain. This often happens because they repeat a motion that puts stress on their muscles or ligaments. Other reasons to see an orthopedic massage therapy could be to reduce pain from an acute injury or even pain after surgery. No matter the reason, these therapists are expected to help lengthen and soften the muscles and ligaments, allowing their clients to have better range of motion.

man stretching an athlete's leg

Benefits of Orthopedic Massage

Orthopedic massage therapy focuses on healing muscles and helping them build strength to prevent further pain or injury. There are a variety of conditions that could benefit from orthopedic massage. These include:

Orthopedic massage therapy is a natural method to recover from pain and prevent it from happening again. If a client wants to heal naturally after surgery, then this type of massage therapy could provide an alternative to taking painkillers. It could even act as a substitute for surgery if the pain is caught and taken care of early.

Why is Orthopedic Massage Therapy Important?

Orthopedic massage therapy can help a variety of people. Since athletes often strain their muscles or ligaments, this therapy can help them play in a safe way. This type of therapy is also beneficial to people with chronic joint pain and it can help reduce the amount of surgeries or medication they have to take. One example of this is are senior citizens. As people get older, their joints begin to ache more and orthopedic massage therapy could be a way to naturally alleviate some of that pain.

How is Orthopedic Massage Therapy Different?

Although orthopedic massage therapy provides relaxation, the main objective is to reduce muscle pain and strain through deep tissue massage. This type of massage often has clients making goals of where they want to be and their results are measured throughout the healing process.

man massaging woman's arm

It’s important that massage therapists in this area have an extensive knowledge of anatomy to help their patients recover. They should know about the body’s musculoskeletal system, injuries and disorders that can affect it, and how to treat the body in a safe and efficient way. Orthopedic massage therapists will need to communicate with their clients about the extent of the injury or disorder to determine the best treatment plan for each individual.

What Are Some Orthopedic Massage Techniques

After communicating with the client about their medical history and where their pain is bothering them most, the orthopedic massage therapist will use a variety of soft-tissue techniques to loosen the muscles and tendons. The techniques will depend on the client and their unique situation. Some techniques that an orthopedic massage therapist could perform are:

  • Trigger point therapy
  • Myofascial release
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching
  • Nerve mobilization techniques
  • Muscle energy technique (MET)

These are just some of the treatments that orthopedic massage therapists could use, but it all depends on the client and what’s best for their injury or disorder. Since this type of massage therapy focuses on the client’s recovery, orthopedic massage therapists may also suggest stretches that clients can do on their own.

Want to Learn More About Orthopedic Massage Therapy?

If you enjoyed learning about orthopedic massage therapy and you want to know more, look into our massage therapy programs. Being an orthopedic massage therapist requires specialized skills and knowledge, but an education in massage therapy could help you on the path to getting there. Schedule a tour to learn more about us and our program!

Student of the Month: Dan Paulan

We are excited to congratulate Dan Paulan on being the March student of the month at our Syracuse campus! He is being recognized for his hard work and willingness to help others.

Onondaga_SOM_Dan Paulan_March_2019

Change of Pace

Before coming to Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, Dan was an account executive at Syracuse University. He was responsible for selling season and group tickets for football, basketball, and lacrosse. Like many of our students, he decided it was time for a change of pace.

However, his path to massage is a little unusual. Dan found out about OSTM from his fiance, who just graduated from the same massage therapy program last December. His fiance did well in the program and was even voted student speaker at graduation! After seeing his fiance’s success and being exposed to the world of massage, Dan knew he would be able to enjoy getting an education at OSTM.

Passion for Massage

Dan decided to make the change to massage because he wants to improve people’s lives. He says, “I’ve always been drawn to helping others and I want to make a positive impact on someone’s life.”

After experiencing the type of job he describes as “a typical 9-5,” Dan enjoys not having to sit behind a desk each day. He is excited to have a job he is passionate about and look forward to going to work.

He knows that a career in massage will never be boring or repetitive. “Each client will bring something new or different each day. No two clients will be the same, and I enjoy that variety.”

On to Future Success

Dan is inspired by his parents and his fiance. They have motivated him throughout his journey to massage. He says, “Each of them pushes me in their own way, all positive.”

His plan after school is to start working for an established business to gain experience and clientele. However, his true goal is to eventually open his own massage therapy practice.

In the end, Dan is glad he made the change to massage. If he hadn’t made the change, he says “My life would probably be dull. I would’ve been stuck in the same routine that I was in for the last two years. I’m definitely glad I made this change in my life.”

Interested in Massage?

If you are passionate about helping others and want to enjoy the work you do each day, massage therapy could be the path for you. Please contact us to learn more about our massage therapy program and if a massage therapy education is right for you.

Read some of our past Student of the Month stories here:

Rochester March
Syracuse February
Rochester February

Student of the Month: Shao Dong

We would like to congratulate Shao Dong on achieving March student of the month at our Rochester campus!


Meet Shao

Shao was born and raised in China where she completed studies in Acupressure and Reflexology. After immigrating to the United States, Shao decided to go back to school to complete her training in massage. First, she took several English classes so she could understand the English language and succeed in school. Then she applied and was accepted to Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage.

Because Shao understands life is about balance, she enrolled in OSTM’s 15-month day massage therapy program. It has allowed her time to meet her personal commitments while she follows her passion to learn the western modalities of massage.

Supporting Others, Supported by Others

Shao’s commitment to learning is driven by her passion to help others. She is an energy practitioner and wants to incorporate her energy techniques with her massage to help others establish balance and wellness in their lives.

Shao’s determination is evident in the extra hours of preparation and study she puts into each of her courses. She would like to thank the tutors and classmates at OSTM who assisted her with grasping not only the terminology she learned in her Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Neurology, and Myology classes but also with grasping and retaining the concepts. They have supported her not only through the program at OSTM but for the licensure exam she will need to take after completing the program.

One of the unique benefits that OSTM offers its students is free tutoring for all of the science courses and Shiatsu. These tutoring sessions are led by students who have already completed their science courses or are graduates of the program. These tutors know firsthand how to help others succeed in the classroom and on their licensure exam.

A Day in the Life

If you’re looking to experience a day in the life of a massage therapy student, consider attending OSTM’s Spring Open House on Saturday, April 27th 2019 from 10am-12pm. You can learn more about OSTM’s four flexible program options that meet the 1000 hours of study required by the state of New York. Meet with current staff, faculty, alumni, and students to learn about student life here at OSTM.

At the open house you can receive a free chair massage from a current student and participate in a “mini class” to better understand what the classroom environment is like for a massage therapy student. Also, any attendee who submits an application for enrollment and pays their registration fee the day of the open house will receive a voucher for a free massage in our student massage clinic (a $40 value) to be used as their massage verification (a required portion of the application process).

If you’re ready to take the first step in changing lives through Therapeutic Massage, then start by reserving your seat for the Spring Open House at OSTM. You can call or text 585-690-6902, or send an email to today.

If you’d like to learn more about our students and their experiences here at OSTM, check out some of our other recent student features:

February: Amber Youngs
February: Andrew Schneider
January: Francesca Geremia
December: Cristal Pagliaro-Sabatini

Student of the Month: Amber Youngs

Amber Youngs is the February Student of the Month for our Syracuse campus. The staff at our Syracuse campus feel that Amber is an outstanding student because of her can-do attitude and her professionalism. While she is now doing great in massage school, she came to massage from a very different industry, as our students often do.

March Student of the Month OSTM Amber Youngs

Journey to Massage

Prior to enrolling at OSTM, Amber had been the office manager of several companies. However, she was not feeling fulfilled at her job. She decided to make a career change to massage therapy so that she could help others help themselves.

“I think the best thing about becoming a licensed massage therapist is that I will have an opportunity to play a key part in filling other people’s buckets,” she said.

Amber said she is inspired by people who are “capeless superheroes, fighters, and survivors that have fought their battles and – win or lose – and are better because of it.”

Why Massage Therapy?

Amber chose massage therapy not only because she wanted to help people but also because it is a career that allows for continuing education and personal growth.

“My favorite part of the massage industry is that massage therapy is an ever-evolving career that can take us in any direction we choose,” she said.

She is also glad she chose to do her training at OSTM.

“I chose OSTM because if you want to be the best possible version of yourself, you need to learn from the best. OSTM produces high quality therapists,” Amber said.

A Future in Massage

After finishing school, Amber hopes to continue her education and work in medical message. She is glad she chose to come to OSTM and make the career change to massage.

“If I had not started massage therapy education, I would probably still be chained to a desk, Micro-softing my life away,” she said.

If you think you might like to help people and work in an exciting and evolving industry, massage therapy could be a great fit for you! Please contact us to learn more about our massage therapy programs.

The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Those Over 60

While massage has a number of benefits for people a variety of ages, there are clear benefits for those who are older, also called geriatric massage. This type of treatment has a number of benefits for many seniors, regardless of how active they are. Learn more about the benefits of geriatric massage and why it’s so important.

What Are the Advantages of Geriatric Massage?

Regularly scheduling sessions can combat the effects of getting older and:

  • Improve quality of life
  • Offer more mobility
  • Ease joint and muscle pain
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Improve mental health
  • Improve sleeping patterns
  • Increase range of motion
  • Reduce stress

The best part about these benefits is that massage is completely natural. Unlike medicines used to provide similar benefits, massage can improve quality of life without any side-effects. Plus, massage is an accessible treatment for most, including those who are getting older and suffering from:


Geriatric people suffering from arthritis may find it harder to move without feeling pain. Massage can loosen joints and relieve pain caused by arthritis. It can also restore grip strength and the ability to move.

OSTM massage for seniors woman with arthritis


Regular massage can actually help make insulin more effective, as increased blood flow allows it to travel through your body better. Massage can also alleviate any pain and swelling that diabetes causes. However, those seeking treatment must be careful and let their massage therapist know about their condition in order to make sure their blood sugar stays at a safe level.

Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Studies have found that a slow-stroke back massage can lessen agitated actions, such as wandering, pacing, or resisting, behaviors caused by Alzheimer’s disease. While it does not reverse the symptoms of dementia, it can still relieve stress and build a connection with people.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Touch

Besides the health benefits of massage, there is an emotional benefit too. Some geriatric people do not have the opportunity to get the support they need, and massage is a powerful force for emotional support, too. For those who don’t often have opportunities to experience physical touch, it’s a perfect way to add to that experience and stimulate their senses.

OSTM massage for seniors

Why Is Massage Therapy So Important for Seniors?

Regardless of whether or not someone is suffering from the aches and pains of getting older, massage may still be right for them. Massage for seniors is so important because of the changes that happen to our bodies as we age. For those over 60 specifically:

Their Bodies Takes More Time to Heal

When you’re younger, it’s much easier to heal after scrapes, bruises, pulled muscles, and more. However, as you get older, your body becomes much more fragile, as many of your body’s processes start to slow down. While massage can help increase blood flow and encourage your body to keep moving, in the case of injuries or pulled muscles, it may take longer to get back to normal.

They Are More Prone to Aches and Pains

This is a simple fact of life. As you get older, your body is unable to move as well as it once could, even if you are leading an active, healthy lifestyle. Older people are also more at risk to conditions such as osteoarthritis, a condition where your bones wear down, often near joints, causing pain and making it harder to move.

What Makes Geriatric Massage Different Than Other Types of Massage?

While many types of massage provide the same benefits that geriatric massage does, it’s important to get the correct certification to be able to provide this type of service to older clients. The techniques used may be a gentler form of pressure or it may be different techniques designed to alleviate aging aching pains.

Geriatric massage techniques better address health issues suffered by those over 60 and also lessen the risk of pain from pushing too hard. The sessions are also usually shorter and may be done at home in a chair or couch rather than a table.

Want to Provide Geriatric Massage Support?

If you’re interested in learning how you can provide the power of touch to geriatric people or others who need it, learn more about our massage therapy programs. While you may need extra certification in order to provide services for geriatric patients, an education in massage therapy is a good place to start. Schedule a tour at one of our two locations today to get started!

Student of the Month: Andrew Schneider

Journey to Massage

Andrew Schneider is a student in the Rochester campus’s 15-month evening program. He started on his path to becoming a Massage Therapist in September, in 2018. He has always enjoyed working with his hands and he currently has a full-time job as a woodcrafter. However, he also loves interacting with others so he wanted a career where he could help people while working with his hands.

During his tour of Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, he felt like the school and program was a perfect fit almost immediately. When Andrew isn’t in the woodshop or at OSTM, he enjoys being outdoors and loves to explore parks and trails here in the Finger Lakes region.

Andrew Schneider February Student of the Month

Flexibility During School

Because Andrew is working in woodcrafting full time, he needed to choose a school program that was flexible with his work schedule. OSTM’s 15-month program offers both a day and an evening format to allow students like Andrew more flexibility with their class schedules. This provides the opportunity for students to still meet important personal commitments like work or family.

Success in School

In February of 2019 Andrew began working in the massage clinic.* So far he has really enjoyed giving massages to the public. In his first month of clinic his massage clients have already given him great positive feedback. One client said,

”Andrew was natural, professional, intuitive, and you could tell he really cared about my experience getting a massage. He checked in with me throughout the massage to see if the pressure needed to be adjusted, what areas I wanted more attention given to, and if I was comfortable. This was by far one of the best massages I have ever received and why I will be back in two weeks to see Andrew again.”

Andrew has shown that his skills also go beyond the massage table. He has one of the highest academic averages in his science and massage technique classes. When asked what his favorite class was, Andrew said,

”I love all my classes, but I think I like Myology the best. Massage Therapists manipulate and work on different muscle groups in the body, it’s just fascinating to learn about each muscle and nerve and how everything is connected in our bodies.”

Andrew will graduate from OSTM in December of 2019. He wants to start his own massage practice that focuses on assisting people with easing their pain and discomfort. He is very excited to continue his path to becoming a licensed massage therapist and utilizing the skills he is learning here at OSTM.

Learn More About OSTM

We are very proud of Andrew and all of our successful students. If you are interested in booking a massage appointment with Andrew or any of our talented student therapists, or if you want to learn more about how you could become a massage therapist, please call us at (585) 241-0070 or visit our website.

*All student clinic work is supervised by a NYS licensed massage therapist.