April 20, 2006
Recent studies clearly show that human touch has a powerful role in healing. As a result, more and more healthcare professionals are clamoring to learn massage therapy and HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, is responding to that call.

"The health benefits associated with therapeutic massage are becoming increasingly clear but there aren't enough quality training programs with a healthcare focus," said Kathie Zimmerman, RN, director of nurse aide and massage therapy. "We're already seeing interest from some of our graduates in other programs and we're looking to fill our class of 24 for this fall fairly quickly."

HACC's new massage therapy program will open this fall at its 3 Penn Center location, in Harrisburg. The first session of the 600-hour, 20-week training program will begin in September and conclude in March 2007. Classes will be held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. HACC will continue to offer two courses a year in the fall and spring semesters.

Students who complete the certification program will have a growing number of work environments from which to choose, according to Zimmerman.

"While many students will find jobs in an outpatient clinic setting, opportunities exist in a number of places, such as nursing homes, acute care settings, hospice and alternative medicine settings," she said.

"In addition to the benefits of basic relaxation, massage can be used to treat muscle problems, chronic fatigue, post-surgery swelling-there even is a whole therapy regime for pregnant women," Zimmerman said. "Hospice patients and babies have benefited from its calming techniques as well."

In addition to learning different types of massage, students enrolled in HACC's new massage therapy program will study anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, as well as complete a business component of instruction that will help them apply their skills following graduation.

HACC is developing a lab to hold 12 massage tables at Penn Center. Students will work in pairs until they become proficient in massage therapy. Toward the end of their training, they will offer discounted massages to the public under the direction of an instructor.

Tuition for HACC's Massage Therapy program is $7,800. Financial aid is available. To register for the program, students must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma and be in good physical condition. Students are required to complete an interview prior to acceptance in the program. For more information, call 221-1354.

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