Student of the Month: Sean Hogan

There is nothing quite like seeing a student succeed and go above and beyond our expectations. Here at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, we make sure that our students are getting the most out of their education and constantly progressing. We are so lucky to have amazing students, and we are proud to have them represent our name.

Sean Hogan

Onondaga student of the month: Sean Hogan

This month we would like to give special attention to one of our very own: Sean Hogan. Sean is a 12 month student at the Rochester campus. When asked why he decided to pursue a career in massage therapy, he told us that he has always had an interest in the structure and the function of the human body for as far back as he can remember. He attributes most of his interest in bodywork and massage to being the son of a chiropractor.

As a child Sean would watch as clients visited his father’s practice and would walk in with a limp, staggered gate, or other injuries and would walk out of the office with a spring in their step and a smile on their face.

Changing His Career

Sometimes your plans don’t always end up the way you think they will. If you’re anything like Sean, you’ll make the best of it.

After completing four years of college and finding himself unsatisfied with his career, he began to consider a new career in Massage Therapy. Sean states, “After looking at several schools and examining their curriculum, it was clear that the curriculum, supports, and staff at OSTM-Rochester were far superior to any other school in the area.” We are beyond thrilled he chose us! What an honor to have Sean be apart of our team.

Why Onondaga?

Sean really did his homework when it came down to which school to attend. When asked what made Onondaga stand out he told us that, “Onondaga gives you the tools and the support to be successful with their free tutoring program for the science courses. They have dedicated staff to advise and academically counsel you, and they have one of the highest licensure rates in the state of NY, which means that they really prepare students to get licensed and begin working as a Licensed Massage Therapist”.

Sean’s Favorite Part (So Far)

Sean genuinely enjoys the work and what he is learning. His favorite classes are his Myology and his Anatomy & Physiology classes. “I really enjoy thinking of the body as a big jigsaw puzzle, once you start learning about the body and how each system in the body supports or relies on another it all starts making sense.”

Sean’s Take on Massage Therapy

Sean can personally testify of the benefits of massage. When Sean was a teen he was involved in an accident resulting in a traumatic brain surgery. Sean credits a significant portion of his recovery to the efforts of bodywork professionals (Massage Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Chiropractors).

This experience was the motivation that Sean needed in order to pursue his passion to become a better massage therapist for his clients.

The Bright Future

We won’t be surprised when Sean makes a successful career for himself. His love for his craft is demonstrated every day on campus. Sean hopes to work in a medical setting once he finishes his studies and start his business in a chiropractic or physical therapist’s office to educate others on the benefits of massage.

Be Like Sean

Sean is determined, motivated, knowledgeable, honest, and supportive of his classmates and faculty. Even when class is over he is one of the first to take the extra time to work with a fellow classmate to explain a concept in a different way, test them on muscle origins before a quiz, or just talk things out with a classmate to reassure them. It’s pretty obvious why Sean was chosen to be our student of the month. We are all inspired by Sean. If you want to meet Sean or other students like him, book an appointment for a student massage.

How to Become a Massage Therapist in New York

woman getting a massage from a massage therapist

Do you find joy and fulfillment in helping others? Do you enjoy working one-on-one with clients? Does the idea of getting a license in what you love in under four years sound inviting? Then life as a massage therapist could be the one for you! Massage therapists help with physical therapy, can reduce stress and tension, can prevent sickness and diseases, and can restore health and well-being.

Licensing Requirements

The road to becoming a massage therapist can vary by state. If you want to work in New York in a job that requires you to treat clients with massage therapy techniques, you will need a New York massage therapy license. Here are the requirements to be a licensed massage therapist in NY

  • Must be of good moral character determined by the the department
  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Must be a citizen or an “alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence” in the United States
  • Must complete education requirements
  • Must complete experience requirements
  • Must complete a course in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) within the three years of obtaining your license
  • Must pass the New York State Massage Therapy Examination
  • Must pay the fee of $150 to the department of admissions
  • If applicable, you must submit evidence of English proficiency

Education Requirements

Gaining an education in massage therapy techniques is very rewarding and even better, does not take as long as a general degree in education, such as four years. You could be well on your way before you know it! The requirements in education are:

  • Must be a high school graduate or graduate from a school or institute of massage therapy that includes a program registered by the state of New York Education Department
  • Complete no less than 1000 hours in specific courses according to your department. You can complete the program in as little as one year!

Person getting a massage


You probably wouldn’t guess it, but a massage therapist must be well versed in many subjects in order to provide massage services. What’s so amazing about Those subjects include:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Neurology
  • Myology or kinesiology
  • Pathology
  • Hygiene
  • First aid
  • CPR
  • Infection control procedures
  • The chemical ingredients of products that are used and their effects
  • The theory, technique and practice of massage/bodywork therapy

Onondaga’s Education Resources

Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage offers resources to support student success with completing the required 1000 hours. Resources such as:

  • Free tutoring program four days a week
  • Academic advisement
  • Career assistance
  • Alumni Resources

Follow Your Passion

It may look intimidating or overwhelming getting your massage therapy license. But always remember that hard work does pay off. Being a massage therapist can be a very fulfilling job and one that you are proud of. Many people are living that truth! The massage therapy industry is growing creating many different and great places to work! If you need help, contact one of our admissions representatives. They’ve helped thousands of individuals like you follow their dream. Begin your journey by applying to our program! Don’t miss our Open House on Saturday, April 14th from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. Start your dream today.

Onondaga Orientation

group of friends taking a picture together laughing and smiling
Pursuing your education can be intimidating and it can also be confusing trying to figure what field you want to go into. Why not go to school to pursue something that you love? Helping people. Becoming a licensed massage therapist gives you the opportunity to help people everyday. Massage school differs from traditional school in a variety of ways. Everything is hands-on. Literally. The community is like no other. Your fellow colleagues and instructors are with you every step of the way. At Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage we make that a priority. It all starts with orientation.

Orientation at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage

Orientation gives students an introduction to the specialized curriculum here at OSTM. A simple review of the student handbook becomes an interactive scavenger hunt around campus. A review of the importance of self-care for massage therapists turns into a stretching and range of motion activity. These are just two examples of the dynamic 360 degree educational experience students can expect from their time at OSTM.


At OSTM you can learn the skills and knowledge you will want to become a successful massage therapist. Our curriculum includes instructions in:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Eastern Massage
  • Myology
  • Pathology
  • Neurology
  • Swedish Massage
  • Sports Massage
  • Treatment Techniques
  • Chair Massage
  • Pregnancy Massage
  • Energy Techniques
  • Directed Study
  • Hygiene
  • New York State Law & Ethics
  • Business
  • Communications
  • CPR & First Aid
  • Abuse Awareness

Potential Careers

After graduating from OSTM, there are a variety of potential careers for you to explore. Here are some places you can work.

  • Cruise ships
  • Hotel poolside masseuse
  • Resorts
  • Health and wellness centers
  • Spas
  • Self-employed private practice

Start Your Journey

On December 29th, 2017, 28 new students took their first steps to becoming Massage Therapists at the at the Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage Rochester campus. Those new students came from every walk of life, varied educational experiences, and different career and work experiences. What they all had in common was the desire to help others and start a new career in a field they’re passionate about. You could be the next future massage therapist to step through our doors.

The enrollment process for our next program has begun with classes starting June 29th. If you have ever considered becoming a massage therapist, take the first step today by contacting one of our Admissions Directors at either our Rochester, NY or Syracuse, NY campuses. Start your journey today.

"Join Us Today!" click button

Where to Spot Sports Massage Therapists

Massage has become so integral to the professional sport scene that the massage therapists tend to blend into the background! Throughout the year you can see sports massage therapists, so here are a few of the places you’ll likely spot them!

The Olympics

The Winter Olympics are taking place again in 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea, and the sports massage therapists will be out in full force! Even before the Olympics take place, massage therapists have been volunteering year round at Olympic training centers around the country. This gives them a chance to hone their sports massage skills, expand their resume, and potentially perform massage for the top athletes in the United States!

The first official sports massage team for the United States was organized in 1984 for the Los Angeles Olympic Games. It was a new and tenuous time for massage therapy in professional sports because there was still a great deal of misunderstanding about how massage therapy could help professional athletes. Fast forward to modern day sports and it’s rare to find professional sports that don’t have massage therapists assisting the athletes!

The Superbowl

Sports massage and the National Football League (NFL) have become inseparably connected in recent years. NFL players have to fight tooth and nail to earn the spots they have on their respective teams, but their fight isn’t over then. If a pro player is injured, they have a substitute that covers for them while they recover. If that substitute turns out to be a better player than the injured player, they will suddenly be out of a career as a professional football player.

Sports massage is heavily used in the NFL to help players keep their edge. It’s used to help prevent injury as well as to help heal injuries faster. It’s even commonplace for NFL athletes to hire on personal massage therapists in addition to the NFL staff that already provides service. It’s considered an important investment in their NFL careers!

Other Professional Performers

The benefit of sports massage has become well known at this point, so the application of massage has also spread quite far. In addition to the NFL, most other national sports leagues utilize sports massage to enhance the health and performance of their athletes. Whether it’s cyclists at the Tour de France or soccer players at the World Cup, massage therapists have a place!

Not only have massage therapists taken over the sporting world, but their presence is expanding into other fields. Professional dancers are using massage therapists more and more to improve their health and the quality of their performances!

Where Would You Like to Be?

Where would you most enjoy working as a sports massage therapist? We can help you begin your professional massage therapy journey at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage. Contact us to learn more about the enrollment process today!

What is Swedish Massage?

Swedish massage is usually what people in the western world are referring to when they say they got a massage. The focus of Swedish massage is on anatomy and physiology, as opposed to Asian massage techniques that focus on lines of energy that flow through the body. A Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling, is credited for developing a system of medical gymnastics that later evolved into what we know today as Swedish massage.

What Is the Difference Between Swedish and Other Types of Massage?

Each type of massage has a fundamentally different ideology that influences how the massage is performed. These differences are large enough that some people can have different results depending on which type they get.

Swedish massage has an emphasis on physiology with a specialization in releasing knots, tension, and pain through a variety of different techniques. Some of these techniques include:

  • Kneading
  • Friction
  • Effleurage
  • Stretching
  • Tapping
  • and more

The massage therapist can also adjust the intensity of the massage from gentle to grueling at the request of the client. Swedish massage also allows the client to focus on massaging particular parts of the body that need more relief.

While there is a wide variety of massage techniques that licensed therapists can use, Swedish massage is one of the most popular. Other techniques may utilize stretching, pulling, or manipulating the muscles rather than rubbing or massaging them. Massage therapists can even restrict blood flow to some parts of the body to release pressure, then allow the blood to rush back into the body part.

Which Type of Massage Is Right for Me?

The short answer is that it depends! You need to be sure to pick a massage that is right for your body and what your body needs. There’s massage modalities that are excellent for increasing flexibility and circulation, while Swedish massages take special care to alleviate specific pain points in the body.

Another thing to consider is your personal comfort level with things like massage oils and nudity. In a Swedish massage, the client is usually nude and covered in a massage sheet or towel. Clients can also choose to keep their underwear on if they are nervous during their first few visits. The massage therapist only reveals the part of the client they are working on, and these massages are performed in private. Modesty is always preserved for the client. The nudity is required in order to use the massage oils that traditionally come with a Swedish massage.

If you are uncomfortable with the nudity involved in a typical Swedish massage, or your skin could react negatively to the massage oils, consider trying a different type of massage. Some massages are performed while the client is fully clothed and does not use any massage oils. There are some massages that are often performed in rooms with space for multiple people to be massaged at the same time. Just talk to your therapist to learn more about the massage that will be most beneficial and comfortable for you.

Share With Us!

Which type of massage do you prefer and why? What benefits have you enjoyed from it? Share with us on Facebook!

Students of the Month: Lakieta and Essence

At Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, we see students come and go. We love watching them grow and develop as professionals and people while they are here. It’s amazing to watch them channel their excitement and passion for massage to become experts. Each of our students has a unique path that led them to a career in massage. No matter the path that led them here, we’re glad to have them at OSTM. We think that our students are some of the most incredible individuals and students out there. They astound us on a daily basis!

Because we have such high-caliber students here, we like to select one from each campus to highlight every month. These are our students of the month. They are the students who progress quickly and bring their peers along with them. This month the students we chose to highlight are Lakieta Smith from our Syracuse campus and Essence Brooks from our Rochester campus.
ostm students of the month

Lakieta Smith

We love having Lakieta at OSTM! She works hard and takes the time to learn and understand as much as possible. She has an awesome attitude and even approaches challenges with a smile on her face. We think this is one of the most important characteristics our students can have. When a student brings a great attitude like this to school, it rubs off on other people. It’s contagious!

Healing Hands

Lakieta is a woman of many talents. She used to work as a DJ in Buffalo, New York. That’s a pretty big career change. When asked what led her to choose massage therapy as a new career she said, “The world needs more healers.” Lakieta is also a mother and she told us that parenthood also played a role in her choice when she said, “I dedicate my life to my daughter and she has brought out a true nurturing side of me I never knew I had. Along with that came more of a drive to continue on finding my greater purpose in the universe.”

We’re so glad these things led you to OSTM, Lakieta. You have been amazing to have around. We will miss you when you graduate!
essence brooks standing in front of onondaga school of therapeutic massage sign

Essence Brooks

Essence is one of our 15-month students at our Rochester campus. She started in October 2017 and immediately struck us as an outstanding student. Essence’s instructors describe her as being open minded, upbeat, and always willing to help others. This willingness makes having Essence in class an absolute pleasure. It also makes Essence very teachable which is one of the reasons she has excelled so quickly during her time in school.


For Essence, it was the career possibilities and flexibility that drew her in. She was excited about how many different paths a massage therapist can take. She also loved that many massage therapists choose to be self-employed and that she could pursue that opportunity herself. Essence is always asking her instructors and classmates questions and spends a lot of time in OSTM’s free tutoring program to improve. With this display of hard work, we have no doubt that Essence will be able to accomplish whatever she sets her mind to! We’re excited to see what she does after graduating.

Follow in Their Footsteps

Are you ready to start building a career as a massage therapist? You can become the next student of the month like Essence and Lakieta. Contact us to learn more about what it takes to become a licensed massage therapist. We can help you get started on the road to a career you can love!

Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage and Community Engagement

onondaga school of therapeutic massage community engagement

At Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage we are always trying to make a difference in our community. How do we do this? With events like our Hometown Heroes appreciation, Back to School Drives, and more. We love partnering up with service organizations in New York to help other people.

Our Most Recent Project

In November we worked with the Food Bank of Central New York to bring meals to people who needed them.

One in eight Americans struggle with providing food for themselves and their family members. The following statistics apply to the people in New York who need help providing food for themselves and their families:

  • 30% are under 18 years old.
  • 91% are under the federal poverty level.
  • 41% have less than $12,000 of annual income.

The Food Bank of Central New York

The Food Bank of Central New York provides more than 30,000 meals every day to these people in need. Talk about making a difference. At OSTM we saw an opportunity and wanted to be a part of the cause.

We decided to have a non-perishable food drive at our campuses and donate the food. Students and massage clients alike could donate to the cause. When all was said and done we gathered 461 pounds of food.

students at the food bank of central new york

Coming Together

There are a lot of reasons that we love being involved in community builders like this. One big one is that we get to see people come together to serve. We love linking arms with organizations like the Food Bank of Central New York. We also love seeing how eager and willing the public is to step up and help out! It’s a humbling experience for both staff members and students of OSTM. We believe it helps us be better professionals and members of society.

Keep in Touch

Are you asking yourself why you didn’t know about OSTM’s food drive? We want you to be in the loop on all of our future community engagement events. We want you to be able to join us in strengthening and serving. How can you do this? Follow us on Facebook. This is a great way to stay up to date on what events are going on and how you can be a part of the OSTM team. As a bonus, you’ll be in the loop on how you can get discounts on massages.

Ready to Join the Team

If you’re thinking about building a new career in massage, come visit us. We want to help you become part of the OSTM team where you can learn massage and help in the community. Join the OSTM family and start building your dream career today.

Students of the Month: Shaina and May

We have so many talented students here at the school that it becomes difficult for us to pick just one student of the month each month. These students have really shined in the past month as prime examples of what it means to be talented massage therapists! Hard work and persistence pays off, and it’s doubly true in a results-oriented field like massage therapy. These students are exemplary in their learning, and we are so excited to see what they can do in the future!

Meet Shaina Bienvenue

Shaina is one of the newest students at OSTM, but right away she’s making a huge impact! She is a student in our 15-month evening licensed massage therapist program who started with us on September 1, 2017! Shaina is a superstar at the school because of her helpful and cooperative spirit. She’s always willing to put extra effort into helping other students succeed alongside her. Not only does she work hard at school, but she also finds time in the day to hold a job and perform well there! Her authenticity, diligence, and compassion for others is contagious, and that’s why she is our student of the month for October!

Healing Hands

When asked of her reason for choosing massage and her goals, Shaina stated, “I’ve wanted to do this since I was 13. I have moved, changed jobs, and started school all at the same time.  I want to specialize in autoimmune since [it has] affected a lot of my loved ones. Eventually I’d like to also do lymphatic drainage or infant massage in the far future.” Way to go Shaina, you’re an inspiration to all of us!

Meet May Yang

May Yang is a student in the 6-month licensed massage therapist program who will be graduating in December 2017. She has a bachelor’s degree in human services and has always had a passion for helping others. She knew that massage therapy could be a rewarding career for both her and her clients. When May first made the decision to pursue a career in massage therapy, she shared that she has become more self-aware in regards to her own health and wellness. She knew she wanted to find a career in the industry due to her passion for living a balanced and healthier lifestyle and wanted to share that with others!

Holistic Health & Lifestyle

Once licensed, May’s goal is to educate her clients and help them understand the benefits of massage therapy. For her this includes providing consultation as well as helping clients prevent, heal, and cope with stress and injury. She wants to provide them with the ability to relax and enjoy massage therapy. May developed her first business plan for her massage practice named “Body Balance, Massage & Wellness” where she plans to incorporate the benefits of therapeutic massage and yoga together. Her business model incorporates nature and the outdoors into her practice while using the health benefits of massage and yoga to improve her client’s’ quality of life. Such an admirable goal, May! Keep up the great work!

Craft a Future Fit for You

At Onondaga, we do everything we can to empower our students to create careers that are suited for their individual dreams. Learn more about us to begin crafting the dream career for yourself today!

Why do Massages Feel Good?

Massages feel good because they release “feel-good” endorphins into the body, similar to a runner’s high. They can also feel good because the brain releases oxytocin which is a natural chemical that reduces pain and can serve as an antidepressant. Massages can also feel good as a chemical response to human contact, similar to feeling good from affectionate contact from friends or family.

The Endorphin Rush

The body responds to the world around it in so many ways! Endorphins are a natural response to something good for the body. Endorphin rushes can come from thrills like roller coasters or cliff jumping, or from fat-burning exercise like running or swimming. Not only that, but endorphins are also released as a response to some forms of pain as a means to help manage it. Even eating extremely spicy food can give you an endorphin rush! Massage gives the same sensation both from the “good pain” of massaging sore muscles, but also from the increased circulation.

Knotty Knotty Muscles!

Knotted muscles form when there is a buildup in protein and lactic acid that can cause pain from lack of blood flow. Massaging knotted muscles helps to release that buildup and increase blood flow, providing oxygen to parts of the muscle that weren’t getting enough before. It feels great not only because the pain is triggering a release of endorphins, but also because circulation is increasing and inflammation from the knot is being released. This is why some back and shoulder massages can “hurt so good”!

The Human Element

Human contact is essential in emotional well-being. Embraces, handshakes, and even cuddling are all in their own class of endorphin sources. Interpersonal contact is proven to reduce stress, improve mood, and contribute to well-balanced health. Massage is important for both physical and mental health!

Massage Therapy and You

Massage therapy is a growing field with an increasing number of options for both the therapist and the client. Where you can choose so many kinds of massage and whether you want one at home or in a spa, it’s an exciting time to be in the world of massage! Check out our licensed massage therapist programs to begin building the career of your dreams!

How We Create a Positive Culture at Onondaga and Why It’s Important to Us

massage therapist working

When choosing a school, you should be looking at the culture they maintain on campus. A school’s culture are the things that are important and what the overall feeling is like at that school. At Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, we understand the importance of school culture. We know that it can make a difference in the quality of our students’ education.

Because culture can play such a big role in the way our students feel about their educational experience, we do what we can to build a positive one.

Here’s some of the things we do at OSTM to build a culture of caring:

Time to Have Fun

What we do is a blast! We love to see our students and staff members have fun, joke around, and be themselves. We encourage our students and instructors to create a fun atmosphere. It’s an important ingredient in creating a culture where students can feel comfortable in their surroundings.

group of onondaga school of therapeutic massage students

Reach Out

At OSTM we make reaching out and helping others an integral piece of our culture. We strive to give our students ample opportunity to help and serve others not only in school but in the communities that our campuses are part of.

Why do we think that helping others is an important factor in school culture?

One reason is to help our students give back and to make a difference in the lives of those we serve. These things are important to us as a school and we want to pass that onto our students. We’ve noticed that when our students get a chance to help others, it almost always makes them more grateful and humble. It also gets them excited to continue being a source of positivity after they graduate.

Check out some our recent community engagement events:

Want to get involved in our next community event? Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on what’s going on!

Encourage Others

Our instructors and staff members love seeing students thrive. The most rewarding part of being an OSTM instructor is getting to watch the transformation that students go through. Because of this desire to help you succeed, instructors will be some of your biggest fans as you go through your journey to a new career.

massage therapy student giving a massage

OSTM instructors are not the only members of your support system as you go to school. Our students are also amazing. They go above and beyond in helping each other learn and grow. When you become an OSTM student, you join a family.

Want to see how strong the support is from staff, instructors, and other students is at OSTM? Book a tour and come see for yourself.

Find Balance

A balanced and healthy life are important to finding success. We do what we can to help our students learn how to create this kind of lifestyle. From flexible class schedules to continuing education workshops, we are dedicated to giving our students the tools they need to achieve their dreams without sacrificing other things that are important.

Choosing a Career in Massage

Becoming a massage therapist can lead to an exhilarating career and we’re ready to help you start building it. Contact us to get started. Our admissions representatives can answer your questions about what it takes to become a licensed massage therapist in New York.