Student of the Month: Justin Rochniak

Meet Justin Rochniak

July’s student of the month at the Rochester campus is Justin Rochniak. Justin is one of our 15-month students enrolled in our evening program. Before finding massage therapy, Justin was stuck in a job where he felt unfulfilled. He always enjoyed working with his hands so after considering massage therapy for over a year, he scheduled a tour with our admissions team here at the Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage. Justin says that he immediately felt at home after touring the school and loved the format of the evening program. The program allowed him to attend class four nights a week from 6:00pm-9:30pm. This gave Justin time to continue to work and support himself and his family, keep his personal commitments on the weekend, and have time to study.

Another feature that Justin liked about the evening program is that it allowed him to take two nights of science classes and two nights of hands-on massage classes.

“Having hands-on classes with my science classes allowed me as a hands-on learner to learn muscle groups and identify the structure and function of specific regions and systems of the human body.


Justin chose OSTM over other schools in the area because of the sole focus on massage.

“At other schools I went to there were students just going to college because they thought that’s what they were supposed to do. At OSTM, all the students there were studying the same thing as me, and we all wanted a new career in a profession we love.”

Justin was selected as student of the month for Rochester because of his positive attitude, solid attendance, and strong academics. When Justin graduates in December 2018 he hopes to start working for a more seasoned licensed massage therapist in a wellness center.

Goals After School

After a few years of experience Justin sees himself opening his own business and helping others with massage and bodywork. Justin believes that the opportunities in massage therapy are endless:

“I have friends who graduated the class before me who are working in hospitals with cancer and hospice patients, others are working in schools with students with sensory and attention deficits, others are working in high-end salons and spas, and others are working in rehabilitation centers, physical therapy, chiropractic offices, and other health care settings”.

Justin wants to combine those endless options with his own business to create a unique opportunity to help others with massage and bodywork.

Always Something New

Justin loves that there is always something to learn with massage therapy. If you get tired of one thing, you can try something new!

“One of the best things about massage is that if you get bored with one setting or modality, there are so many other possibilities and settings to experience.”

Justin’s outlook on life and his positivity is just one way that he makes Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage great!

Join the OSTM Family!

Want to learn more about OSTM’s flexible program options, including out 15-month program designed for working adults? Schedule your own personal tour and meetings with our admissions and financial aid representatives today! The enrollment deadline for our next 15-month evening program is Friday, August 17th, so there’s no time to waste!

Benefits of Being a Traveling Massage Therapist

Massage therapy is a career full of freedom and opportunity, and that is especially true for people who decide to become traveling massage therapists! Instead of working in traditional spas or clinics, traveling massage therapists (also known as mobile massage therapists) set appointments to visit their clients at home and perform services in-house. For many massage therapists, this can be the ideal option because it gives them many benefits they might not have at a typical spa. Here are all the reasons you might enjoy being a traveling massage therapist:

Set Your Own Schedule

One of the main reasons many people love being traveling massage therapists is that they have complete control over their schedule. If you work in a spa or clinic you may not have total control over when you have to work, so traveling to your clients can give you greater freedom to go where you like, when you like. This is great for people who are trying to work additional jobs, manage time with family, or just like greater control of each day. You could even consider working before or after standard business hours since you aren’t restricted to spa operating hours!

Set Your Own Rules

Another big reason why many massage therapists love to travel to their clients is because they can choose their own practices, prices, or anything else! You essentially become your own business owner, so you get to make all of the executive calls. In a spa, your clients are often charged to pay for both your services and the facility. Traveling massage therapists don’t have to pay for facilities or electrical bills, so what they charge their clients is what they get to keep after they’ve paid for supplied like the massage table and supplies! You can also choose when you take your breaks, what services you want to offer, and build your own book of business. You’re free to be your own boss!

Pick Your Venue

With an increase in awareness of the benefits of massage therapy, more and more people are choosing to incorporate it in their professional and private lives. Many corporate events and expos even include massage therapy services for attendants, so working with these expos allows you to serve clientele in a unique and open environment. Whether you wish to work in large business venues, private homes, or anywhere in between, working as a mobile massage therapist allows you to make the choice for yourself!

Expand Networking Opportunities

Many massage therapists take advantage of social media to help promote their personal practice, and as a mobile massage therapist you could have even more opportunities to build your presence! A massage therapist who moves about is more likely to run into new people, so make sure you talk to everyone as you go about your days. Corporate events where you massage many new people throughout the day is also a good way to help get the word out about your services. Consider sharing business cards or connecting with people through social media to expand your reach!

Get Your Foundation at Onondaga

Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage is where you can learn the skills you may need to become a massage therapist regardless of where you choose to work! Our students have a 97.6% licensure rate between both of our campuses in Syracuse and Rochester, so we are confident we can help our students succeed! Contact us or schedule a tour if you want to learn more about what a career in massage therapy can do for you!

Everything You Need to Know About OSTM’s Evening Program

At Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage we understand that people come from many different walks of life, so a massage therapy school can’t be a one-size fits all solution! With this in mind, OSTM offers three unique schedules to best integrate with your lifestyle. Our 6, 12, and 15-month programs empower you to choose your pace, with programs striking the best balance of life obligations while advancing your career at the same time! Our 15-month evening program begins soon, so if you’ve been considering OSTM, check out what our evening program can offer you!

What Can You Learn in the Evening Program?

The 15-month evening program is designed to give you everything you need to become a licensed massage therapist. Some of the topics in our program include:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Swedish massage
  • Sports massage
  • Chair massage
  • Energy techniques
  • Pregnancy massage
  • And much more!

All of the topics we cover in our massage therapy program are designed to prepare you for the licensing exam and to equip you for success as a professional massage therapist after graduation. We also offer additional opportunities for current students to give back to the community and continuing education for graduates to expand their knowledge! Check our Facebook page for any upcoming education events; we’d love to have you attend!

How Can You Use Your Evening Program Education?

Harnessing the full power of your massage therapy education is an exciting experience and we can provide the confidence for you to rise to the challenge! People come to our school with many different dreams and passions and we strive to help each of our students be prepared to bring those dreams into reality. Some people are looking to advance healthcare careers, some wish to learn valuable and marketable new skills, and others have always wanted to learn massage as a gift they can share with others. Here are some of the most popular places for Licensed Massage Therapists to take their careers:

  • Chiropractic offices
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Day spas
  • Health clubs
  • Cruise ships
  • And many more!

Is the Evening Program Right for You?

Our evening massage therapy program is held Monday through Thursday from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm, with occasional additional Friday classes during the program. This allows you to have a full-time job, other educational courses, or any other life events that can’t afford to be put on hold! This program not only works well for those who work full time during the day, but also for parents who need juggle the busy day and afternoon routines with their children. Regardless of your personal situation, OSTM strives to create programs and schedules that can accommodate anyone who is passionate about learning massage and becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist!

Start With OSTM Today!

Are you ready to embrace your passion for healing and helping others? Onondaga School of Massage Therapy is here to help you every step of the way and embrace your dreams! Visit our programs page to learn more about your options at our school, or apply online to begin right away! Your helpful Admissions Guides are waiting to hear from you and help you begin your journey as a Licensed Massage Therapist!

Students of the Month: Teajay & Zeriah

Meet Teajay Giacchino

Thomas J. Giacchino is this month’s student of the month for the Rochester campus. Thomas, or “Teajay” as he likes to be called, has been interested in massage therapy for the last few years. He started on his path to becoming a licensed massage therapist in 2017 at a local community college. He felt lost in the masses at the larger community college and eventually withdrew from the school. He started working at a local renaissance fair as a vendor, but his desire to help others through massage was still strong.

Finding OSTM

Teajay took a leap of faith and scheduled a tour at the Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage’s Rochester campus in December 2017. He said:

“I was instantly drawn to the positive energy of the campus. The students I met with loved their classes, instructors, and staff. I loved that the campus was part of Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts and there were restaurants, shops, spas, art galleries, and studios all within a block of the school’s campus.”


Teajay, decided to enroll in our six month full-time program starting in January 2018 and after five months he’s now sure he made the right decision!

“I love that unlike my previous school, everyone here at Onondaga is studying the same thing. We are all working towards becoming massage therapists. I also liked the smaller class sizes.”

Life as a Massage Therapist

On June 8th 2018, Teajay will graduate and begin his journey as a licensed massage therapist. Teajay states his goals as a professional licensed therapist are to create his own practice that encompass all of his skills and knowledge in emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness.

“I have a feeling that obtaining the license will only be the first door that will lead to more growth as a person and as a professional.”

Teajay is a strong academic student and is strong in his techniques as a massage therapist. A recent client that saw Teajay in our public massage clinic recently shared some feedback with the school regarding their last massage with Teajay. They said:

“I usually have a massage every other month as I experience lower back pain. I came in for my first massage with Teajay and was blown away by his knowledge of the body. Not only did I get a great massage, but Teajay was able to tell me what specific muscle groups he was working and why. After the massage Teajay met with me and discussed some stretching exercises to help me improve my mobility and flexibility. This was hands down one of the best massages I have had and I plan to start coming in for a massage every other week now with Teajay.” – William R. Webster, NY

Being nominated for student of the month by his instructors means the world to Teajay.

“I feel that for the first time in my life I am doing what I was meant to do.”

We’re thrilled that Teajay has found what he is passionate about doing, and we can’t wait to see what he does after graduation!

Meet Zeriah Turner

Zeriah Turner is this month’s student of the month for our Syracuse campus. She is in our 15 month evening program. Zeriah is a bright, cheerful individual who loves to make people smile and is best known for her random acts of comedy. She often arrives to class in fun outfits be it her work uniform or dressed in a lizard onesie!


Zeriah originally toured with OSTM in June of 2017 and started classes that fall in our 15 month evening program. Before joining us at OSTM, Zeriah studied business and accounting at a local community college. She realized she wanted a career with more flexibility and the opportunity to work on her own terms. As a busy woman working two jobs while attending school, Zeriah has ambitious goals for when she becomes a licensed massage therapist.

Goals After School

Zeriah has big dreams for her life when she graduates from OSTM. She is motivated to make money and help support her family and passions. She plans on opening a massage therapy practice out of her home as soon as she graduates from OSTM. We know she’ll do great!

Join the OSTM Family

If you are ready to change lives, start by changing yours by scheduling your personal tour of our campus. You can meet with our admissions director to learn more about OSTM’s four flexible day and evening program options to become a massage therapist in six months, 12 months, or 15 months. Contact us or schedule a tour to get started today!

How to Find the Perfect Massage Therapist

Downloadable Massage Therapist Infographic PDF

Choose Your Massage Type

Swedish and Thai massage are the two most commonly practiced, so make sure your massage therapist does the style you prefer.

Explore Environments

Decide if you would prefer a massage in a spa, in your home, or somewhere else altogether.

Find Someone You Trust

Look at reviews for massage therapists to determine if they’re the right fit for you.

Ask Questions

Find out as much as you can about your massage therapist and the way they perform massage.

Give Feedback

As you work with your massage therapist over time, communicate what you prefer about their services.

Try Out Different Therapists With Us at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage

Rochester Campus

302 N. Goodman St. Suite 200
Rochester, NY 14607

Syracuse Campus

719 East Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13210

The Benefit of Chair Massages

woman receiving a chair massage

Relaxation. A feeling everyone loves. Whether you work at a desk, are working with heavy equipment, or being a full-time parent, you need some time to unwind and kick back. We know that not everyone can make time for a full 90-minute massage, but what if we told you that there is an alternative? A chair massage is effective, relaxing, and takes less time! Learn more about this type of massage and its benefits from Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage!


Top 5 Things You Learn at a Trade School Open House

If you’re considering secondary education at a trade school, you know there can be an overwhelming number of options! You can choose from countless schools and programs, each of them different from the other. One of the best ways to help yourself make a decision is to visit the schools you are seriously considering. Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage (OTSM) puts on a few open houses each year, so here are our top five most important things you can learn for yourself at a trade school open house!

1. Inspect the Facility Quality

Not all schools are created equal, and that goes for the facility itself as well! When you visit Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage in person, you can inspect the building and equipment for yourself. You can see for yourself the quality of the equipment and how up-to-date the facility is! Visiting a school allows you to see the care put into the school, which can reflect the care that will be put into your education.

2. Find the Best Schedule for You

When you’re deciding which school to attend, you may find yourself unsure of which schedule you want to enroll in when you visit a school. During your visit you can chat with the teachers, staff, or possibly a counselor to help make that decision. Talking to employees at OSTM can allow them to get to know you better, and help you confirm the schedule choice you want to make. It’s not unheard of for students to change their mind after a conversation with someone who works at the school!

3. Meet Your Instructors

Depending on the schedule you select, you could be spending the next 6-15 months with your instructor(s)! Getting to know them and what it will be like working with them can help you to feel more confident with your decision. You can get a sense for your instructor and their passion for teaching long before you even apply or enroll! Visiting a school at an open house gives you an idea what spending time with your instructors is like before you’ve committed. Good instructors show passion, respect, and consideration for their students, so be on the lookout for good qualities!

4. Experience the Culture

Your first visit to a school can help you get an idea of what the culture is like. If the culture feels welcoming, inclusive, and uplifting, you can likely expect that your entire experience at the school will feel that way! Culture permeates every part of a school, especially the education. Make sure you find a place where you are empowered to learn and excel! What OSTM does outside of the classroom can also be a good indicator of a positive culture. Look for things like charity events, extracurricular opportunities, or other things that show an involved school.

5. Ask Many Questions

Perhaps the biggest advantage of attending an open house is having the option to ask lots of questions. All kinds of faculty, staff, and students are usually present, so you can get diverse opinions from different points of view at the school. Asking students about their experience can help you visualize what daily life would be like as a student yourself. Asking instructors questions can help you feel confident that you can succeed in your program and know that you have their support. Asking counselors or advisors questions can help you feel confident and prepared to fund your program. The people you meet are often excited to meet you and help you with your questions, so don’t hesitate to ask away!

Visit Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage

Are you considering a massage therapy education with Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage? We’re happy to schedule a time to let you tour the school with us! Visit our tour page to schedule a preferred time to come see what we’re all about. If you’d prefer to attend an open house, follow our Facebook page for more information on open house dates and times!

Students of the Month: Christine & Corey

Meet Christine Penner

Christine Penner is a part-time, 12 month student at the Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage in Rochester, NY. Christine has always believed in the power of touch and wanted a new career where she could use touch to relieve a person’s stress, anxiety, or pain to help others regain their physical, mental, or emotional health. We saw Christine’s desire to help others daily, and it’s one of the many reasons the staff and faculty of OSTM selected her as our Student of the Month.

Christine can always be found comforting or supporting others, whether it’s staying after a class to work with a peer who is nervous about an upcoming myology exam, sharing parenting advice with classmates, or just her warm smile and contagious laugh to strengthen the bond between her cohort. She received her master’s degree in education but always had a desire for a career that supported her strong belief in the power of touch.

Balancing Life and School

Christine is a mother of four and considers her job as a mom more than a full-time job! Once her children were all school-aged and after a few supportive conversations with her husband, she decided to take the leap and enroll in OSTM’s part-time 12 month program. The 12 month program’s flexible schedule allows her to be there for her children in the morning to see them get on the school bus before her classes begin. Having her classes end at noon gives her time to study and complete the never-ending task of being a mother of four. She can still be as involved with her children’s everyday lives while completing her education and training in Massage Therapy. Christine just completed her first quarter here at OSTM and has completed her 100-level courses in Communications and Business, Law & Ethics, Anatomy & Physiology w/Neurology, Myology, and Pathology with a 3.9 GPA. Christine would like to thank her four children Marin, Michael, Emily, and Mallory and her husband Jon Paul for all the love and support they provide.


When we asked Christine why she chose Onondaga over other massage schools, she said the decision was an easy one. She said:

“After touring the Rochester Campus, I knew it was the right school and the right fit for me… It has small intimate class sizes [and] helpful and friendly staff and faculty who are there to help you along the way and make you feel confident and comfortable in your future as a massage therapist.”

Another factor was OSTM’s over 20-year history of graduating quality-trained and educated Licensed Massage Therapists along with a strong alumni network, quality continuing education programs, and a career services department. In just three months, Christine has had the opportunity to meet with several employers at the school’s Meet & Greet sessions with local employers in the Rochester area. When it comes to which specific modality of massage she thinks she will practice after graduation, Christine is keeping her options open. She said:

“When I first chose to go back to school for massage I saw myself working in more of a medical setting, using my skills and training to offer massage as a form of pain management for people with orthopedic issues, arthritis, and other mobility conditions. But, now I am keeping all my options open. One of the most satisfying things about massage is the number of different modalities and flexibility there is in the massage therapy field.”

Choosing a Career After School

The faculty and staff here at OSTM are confident that Christine Penner is sure to be a trailblazer in the field of Massage Therapy no matter where she chooses to take her journey. Whether she is massaging in a chiropractor’s office or a physical therapist’s medical office, performing oncology massage in one of Rochester’s top cancer treatment centers, pairing her education background with massage to assist individuals with autism to regulate their sensory stimulation, or massaging in one of Rochester’s most luxurious spas. She could even help massage combat veterans at the Veterans Outreach Center who are seeking relief dealing with anxiety, depression, or PTSD. No matter where she chooses to go, she is sure to be a benefit to those around her.

Meet Corey Smith

Meet Corey Smith of the 15 month evening program and OSTM Syracuse’s Student of the Month for April 2018! Corey is the definition of a hardworking and persistent individual. Working full-time in retail and being a full-time dad, his ability to make school a priority deserves recognition. He is solution orientated and inspires those around him to think positively and laugh often, especially in the midst of challenges.

Before OSTM

Before OSTM, Corey was working full-time at Kun Fu Tea, a bubble tea shop in the mall, and taking care of his four-year-old daughter.


Massage was something that Corey thought about while in his senior year of high school, but wasn’t sure if he should pursue it. After he had his daughter and finally had a reliable form of childcare, he started to seriously think about what he wanted to do as a career. In regards to massage therapy, he said:

“I originally thought of massage as a career choice because I wanted to be in a profession where I truly felt I was helping people, and that I can help them with my hands. I love that there is so much more to massage than what most people first assume. After receiving a tour at OSTM, I thought that such a small campus/community would be the perfect fit. After learning that I could enroll part-time around my work schedule and the ability to spend time with my daughter, I knew that OSTM was the right choice.”

Corey’s Future Goals

At the current moment, Corey is unsure of the exact path of massage therapy he wants to take in the future. He loves the field because there are so many career options to choose from and he can work with a variety of people. He enjoys exploring the different options and discovering more about the career in general. He hopes to keep learning as the program goes on, and he is eager to see what the future may hold!

Want to Become a Massage Therapist?

Want to learn more about the exciting career opportunities in the field of massage therapy? Want to find a career like Christine or Corey? Check out our two convenient locations in Syracuse and Rochester! If you’re interested in learning more or want to schedule a tour, call our Syracuse Admissions Director at 315-424-1159 or our Rochester Admissions Director at 585-241-0070. We can help you get started on your new journey!

How Massage Therapy Can Help Autism Spectrum Disorders

Studies conducted in recent years have helped us understand autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in greater detail than ever before. In addition to that, we’ve been hearing stories within the past year or so that suggest that massage therapy can help improve behavior in people with ASD. At Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, helping others lead happier and healthier lives is why we make a special effort to care for our ASD patients!

What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?

Autism spectrum disorder is the name for a group of different developmental disorders. ASD incorporates a wide range of disorders with different symptoms, skill levels, and levels of disability. In general there are a few characteristics commonly found in people with ASD:

  • Difficulty socializing
  • Language impairment
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Other behavioral difficulty

The ASD spectrum also includes disabilities that used to be individually diagnosed, such as Asperger’s syndrome or pervasive developmental disorder. Each case of ASD is unique, so each person needs to be helped according to their needs.

How Does Massage Help ASD?

Studies regarding massage therapy and autism are still in their infancy, but there have been some small scale and anecdotal studies conducted that suggest positive results for patients with ASD. Deep pressure massage in particular is suspected to help with things like touch aversion that people with ASD commonly experience. One theory for why massage can help people with ASD is that massage increases oxytocin in the blood stream. Oxytocin is responsible for producing a feeling of relaxed wellness, which can help combat some of the stressors that come with ASD.

Autism Awareness Day

Helping people around us is at the core of what we do at OSTM. Autism Awareness Day is coming up in April, so if you’re looking for ways that you can make a difference, here are some resources you can investigate:

Try Massage Therapy

At OSTM, we take pride in helping other people live happier and healthier lives, and that is especially true when we take care of patients with ASD. Do you think massage therapy might be able to help you or someone you know with ASD? Schedule an appointment with our student clinic for an affordable way to try massage therapy!

Why the Average Working Person Needs Massage

Massage therapy is a skilled practice with many different applications. Most people think of massage therapy as a luxurious spa activity, or maybe as a way to help recover from an injury. Massage therapy actually shows the greatest benefits for people who get massages regularly! Here are a few of the main reasons massage therapy can be beneficial to the average person.

Stress Relief

Regardless of the type of work you do, you probably feel stress. America’s number one cause of stress is work, and if your work is repetitive in nature or requires you to sit for long periods of time, it’s easy to develop tension in the soft tissue and muscles in the body. This tension can have a negative impact on the quality of our daily lives, and some knots can be very painful until they are worked on through manual manipulation of the tissue.

Not only can massage assist with physical stress and ailments, it can help relieve emotional stress and as well. Just as our bodies have physical scars from past injuries, our bodies have the same kind of reaction to emotional stress, tension, or trauma. It is in the soft tissue that these memories and scars are held, and massage works directly with releasing endorphins and “feel good” hormones that allow your mood to be affected positively.

Improve Desk Jobs

If you’re sitting at a desk reading this, you can probably feel all the tension in your body already, maybe your upper shoulders and neck, low back or wrists. Working conditions are fairly unavoidable, that is why regular massage therapy and home care from the client is so important to combat the negative effects our jobs can have on us. The demands our jobs hold on us aren’t particularly good for our bodies or psyche anyways, so massage helps alleviate the negative side effects. Taking care of yourself is important!

Injury Prevention & Recovery

Massage therapy can be a way to help your body recover and heal more quickly, where appropriate, and also ease pain around the injury.If you are currently under the care of a physician because of an injury, it’s a smart idea to consult with them before receiving massage. Massage aids in the recovery process by bringing new blood to the area, and even work with reducing thickness of newly developing scars. Massage is also used as a preventative measure for injuries in some of the same ways it treats them by bringing new blood flow to the area and increasing flexibility.

Improved Sleep

Its estimated that as many as 1/3 people suffer from at least mild insomnia in the United States. There are a lot of factors that can cause insomnia, and massage therapy can address some of them through a combination of stress relief, muscle relaxation, positive reinforced touch, and healing modalities. Massage can help people stay asleep longer without interruption, and have a more restful sleep. If you are having difficulty sleeping, consider receiving regular massage to help you have more restful sleep.

Onondaga Believes in Massage

At Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage, we believe in what we do! We’ve seen for ourselves the powerful healing of massage, and would love for you to experience it yourself. Book a massage with one of our students today!