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.

Student of the Month: Francesca Geremia

Meet Francesca Geremia

Francesca is the January student of the month in Syracuse. She was chosen by the
OSTM team for her kindness and unflappable positivity. Last October she started our 15-month day program. She has excelled in Shiatsu and recently accepted the role of peer tutor for Shiatsu. She’s known for having near perfect attendance.
Student of the Month Francesca Geremia

Why Massage Therapy

Before school, Francesca worked at The Palace Theater as an assistant bar manager, a barista, and a vegan baker all in one. She chose to attend OSTM and pursue massage therapy at the encouragement of a friend.

”I felt like I had more to offer the world. I wanted to have
a career where I was really able to change lives. I wanted a hands-on,
active career,” she said.

A Future in Massage

Francesca is inspired by the strength of her mother, a breast cancer survivor, and her father who is currently battling Parkinson’s disease.

”In my future, I want to genuinely be known as a healer. I want to become a master at my practice, but never lose my passion for learning more,” she said.

Her favorite part of the massage industry is the relationships with her clients. She likes knowing people are happy to see their massage therapists, unlike how they may feel when going to the dentist or other health appointments.

Francesca is enjoying her time at OSTM and feels like she belongs in the community here.

”If I didn’t start at OSTM, I believe that I would still feel this sense of not belonging anywhere, or being where I should be in life. Coming to this school has made me feel like I am exactly where I belong,” she said.

Join The OSTM Family

Great massage therapists are passionate about helping other people feel and be their best selves. They get the satisfaction of healing and changing lives. If that sounds like something you have a passion for, consider a future in massage therapy! The Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage offers different programs and schedules to help accommodate your needs. Contact us to learn more about our program options, or schedule a tour to see the school for yourself!

December Student of the Month: Cristal Pagliaro-Sabatini

With another year coming to a close, it’s time for us to nominate another excellent student who is now an alumni of Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage (OSTM). This month we wanted to highlight Cristal Pagliaro-Sabatini as our outstanding student of the month! Cristal recently completed our 6 month full-time program and graduated on December 7th, 2018. She is one of our incredibly bright students and we’re excited to see what she is able to do with her career!

Finding a Career to be Passionate About

Before taking the leap into massage therapy, Cristal worked in several different fields. Her jobs ranged from a position as district manager in big box retail all the way to owning her own restaurant. No matter what role she filled, she felt like they were simply jobs rather than a career. She wanted to find a career that she was passionate about and could stick with.

Christine decided to start on the path to becoming a licensed Massage therapist here at OSTM in Rochester. She felt like massage therapy was a field where she could build a career and feel passionate about what she does, and she’s never looked back. During her program, Cristal found enjoyed both the science-based classes and hands-on classes and sometimes found them challenging. She faces all of her challenges head-on and was unwavering in her pursuit of becoming a massage therapist.

An Example in Dedication

Cristal was nominated as student of the month for demonstrating her dedication to massage therapy daily. People could witness her dedication in everything, whether she was tutoring peers or in the way she worked with clients in the student clinic. One of her recent clients wrote:

“Cristal has a gift for making you instantly feel at ease when you are on her table. She constantly checks in with you during the massage and gets right to the source of what’s bothering you. After the massage, she has recommendations and exercises to help you stay healthy and not be in the same state you walked into her therapy room with. What else can I say other than she is a miracle worker!”

Cristal’s dedication to massage is even more evident because she chose to return to OSTM to become a graduate tutor. During this time she will work in our professional clinic to continue to see clients while she prepares for her licensure exam in late January 2019. It’s for these and many other reasons that Cristal was selected for this month’s student of the month!

Find Your Passion

Cristal was driven to find a career that she was passionate about and that she could continue to build upon. Does that sound like your situation? Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage is where you can get your massage therapy education to allow you to make a career of helping other people. Contact us to learn more about our massage therapy programs in Syracuse and Rochester. Don’t wait another day to pursue something you’re passionate about!

Student of the Month: Gene Brugnoni

We’re always excited to feature our talented students of the month and the amazing things they’re doing. This month the award goes to Gene Brugnoni, who is one of our students at the Rochester campus! Gene is currently enrolled in our 15-month day program, and he’s taking his education very seriously.

Learning at OSTM

Gene is currently enrolled in both Anatomy and Shiatsu at the same time, which has allowed him to complete what we call a 360° learning experience. This means that he is Incorporating all learning styles during his time here at OSTM, including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic to make his learning experience more robust. This sort of passion for learning and drive to develop himself is part of why Gene is a no-brainer for Rochester’s student of the month!

Why Massage Therapy

When Gene first came for his personal tour, he shared his goals with our director of admissions:

“My goal as a massage therapist is to professionally interact, heal, and help others. Promoting someone to have a better sense of well-being, while at the same time bettering myself learning the skill of massage.

This attitude of self-improvement is evident in everything Gene does. His motivation drives him to be his best self so that he can be better for others.

“[My goal as a massage therapist is to create] great rapport with clients to enable me to cater better to their needs and facilitate healing inside and out. That’s what this is all about, I am learning the skills to help and heal others while also doing the same for myself.”

This sort of selfless and self-improving attitude is what great massage therapists are made of, and we’re confident that Gene will do well because of it!

Why Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage

There are many schools out there that you can choose from to get your massage therapy education from, so why OSTM? Gene explains that many of the different massage modalities we teach appealed to him, and he is especially interested in taking our Massage Medical Treatment Techniques course. Massage has made a transition since 2012 from being a spa and luxury service to being a more medical treatment. Because of this, OSTM has been doing medical massage treatment classes since the school opened in 1997, pioneering the movement long before it began.

Gene was nominated for student of the month for his compassionate and positive personality. He is an exemplary representative of our mission and he demonstrates what it really means to be a massage therapist. We’re very proud of the work he has done!

Join The OSTM Family

Are you looking for an opportunity to help and heal other people throughout your life? Massage therapy can allow you to do just that! Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage is dedicated to educating well-rounded massage therapists who can offer a wide diversity of treatments so that students can better market themselves. Contact us at our Rochester or Syracuse campus to learn more about what an education at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage can do for you!

2018 Back to School Donation Drive Recap

Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage isn’t just a massage therapy school, it is a community of passionate people with a desire to help others. Helping others not only comes through our craft of massage therapy, it also comes through the acts of service we perform for others. Giving back to the community is a responsibility for us as a school. This year we had the privilege of holding our Back to School Donation Drive again, and we had tremendous support!

What is The Back to School Drive?

With the new school year winding up, we wanted to help children who didn’t quite have everything they needed to be successful. Equipping kids with all the tools they need in the classroom helps them to build confidence and be excited for school. Education is important at all stages of life, so OSTM wanted to get involved with helping kids have a successful year!

How We Got Involved

To get the community as involved as possible, we held school supply drives at each of our campuses in Rochester and Syracuse. Clients with scheduled massages were invited to bring school supplies to donate in exchange for discounts on their services. We were in search of items such as:

  • Pens & pencils
  • Glue
  • Highlighters
  • Backpacks
  • Notebooks
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • And more

All of these supplies are things that students are able to easily make use of regardless of what grade they are in.

Our Partnership

For our school supply drive this year, the Rochester campus was able to partner with Ibero-American Action League, and the Syracuse campus was able to partner with Vera House.

Rochester campus was able to work together with Ibero-American Action League to support over 600 families from Puerto Rico that were displaced by Hurricane Maria. The supplies that we were able to collect are being used to help those families during the 2018-2019 school year. These supplies will also help students in their English as a second language courses as well as employment training for their parents. This year we were able to collect over 1,800 pounds of school supplies and provided over 900 hours of massage for the cause!

The Syracuse campus partnered with Vera House, which works to prevent, respond to and partner to end domestic and sexual violence and other forms of abuse. They offer services and programs to help people from all walks of life get the help they need in situations of violence or abuse. All of the items that we collected were donated to help the children of families assisted by the Vera House.

Both of the schools were able to reach their donation goals, and Syracuse was able to double the amount of supplies collected compared to last year!

Get Involved With OSTM

Are you interested in building a career centered on helping other people? Consider a future in massage therapy! Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage offers four different schedules to help accommodate your needs. Schedule a tour of our Syracuse or Rochester campuses to learn more about the OSTM experience!

Student of the Month: James Frier

James Frier is the student of the month for the Syracuse campus, and was nominated for his positive, upbeat attitude. He is extremely hard-working and it shows in everything he does! He even has perfect attendance, and all of these things together are why we felt he earned student of the month for October. Students like James are why we love training massage therapists.

Why Massage Therapy

James currently works as a bartender to pay his way through school, but he always wanted to do something different with his life. Contributing to society is important to him, and he always had an interest in health and wellness. James injured his back while competing in MMA, so he started getting massage therapy treatments to help him recover. He was blown away by how helpful and healing massage therapy was for him. After that he decided he wanted to learn massage therapy for his career!

Why Choose OSTM

James was initially drawn to Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage (OSTM) because of the way the campus made him feel. He describes his tour experience like this:

“When I toured OSTM I knew it was right for me. I was impressed by all the programs OSTM offers to set their students up for success, and I got positive vibes from all of the staff.”

OSTM strives to provide learning and practice opportunities for students, and that’s one of the things that James identified that told him that he would be a great fit at the school. The positive vibes he also felt just come from working in a place we want to work in!

A Future in Massage Therapy

When asked what his favorite part of massage therapy is, James answered that he loves having a valuable skill set that can improve the life and health of others. Being able to help others feel better and heal faster is a huge motivator for many massage students. For James, he loves having massage skills because he is inspired by people who are passionate about bettering mankind, and he feels that massage can help him make a similar difference.

James sees himself eventually becoming a businessman. He wants to own a business at some point, but he hasn’t decided on a specific area or modality he would like to focus on. Regardless of what he chooses, he says he wants to continue to learn and grow no matter where his career leads him. That attitude of always wanting to learn is a large part of why he was selected as our student of the month!

Join The OSTM Family

Are you looking to make a change in your own life? Massage therapy can be a great opportunity for you to find yourself and a career that you love! Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage offers massage therapy courses at both our Syracuse and Rochester campuses. Schedule a tour to learn more about what OSTM can do for you!