Opportunities Come in Many Forms for One SRTC Neuromuscular Massage Student

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Contributed by Carrie Viohl

Building D, on the Veteran’s Parkway campus of Southern Regional Technical College, is almost surreal in its loveliness. The building’s modern atrium, with its dramatic central staircase, impressive collection of art and medical displays, and well-appointed lounge areas, welcomes students into a facility that feels at once like a college, a gallery, and a modern medical facility. The building houses SRTC’s remarkable Health Sciences programs, including several fully-functioning simulation labs. Most of the second floor feels like you have walked into an especially well-designed hospital.

Last week, I visited one of SRTC’s most beautiful little secrets: The Neuromuscular Massage Therapy Clinic. If upstairs feels like a hospital, the NMT clinic looks, sounds, and feels like a high end spa. The waiting room is softly lit, and attractively appointed with cool colors, natural stone textures, and smart furniture. The treatment rooms are crisp and clean, and extremely inviting with their soft white treatment tables and soothing music.

In one of these rooms, I met B. J. Casey, a Neuromuscular Massage Therapy student who will graduate this year. Neuromuscular Massage Therapy goes far beyond the typical vacation massage many of us have had along with a fruity beverage and tropical music playing in the background. NMT is a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions, and the students approach their massage sessions with an impressive level of professionalism and care. She asked me a variety of questions, examined my posture, my gait, and my tension level in the muscles and joints that I indicated were giving me trouble. She then recommended a treatment plan that focused on my neck, chest, and arms. (Because I spend way too much time slouched over this keyboard!) As she began carefully working on various muscles groups, I chatted with her about our time as students here at the school, and eventually, why she chose the NMT program. She explained to me that as a mother of five, she has always believed in a holistic approach to health and wellness. B.J., with her calm voice, gentle nature, and steady hands, is certainly the type of person that will able to find success in this growing field. Increasingly, physicians, hospitals, physical therapy offices, fitness centers, chiropractors, and wellness centers are incorporating massage into their treatment offerings to patients and clients. B.J. is particularly interested in massage as palliative care for cancer patients, as well as pregnant women.

B.J. and I were discussing how much we have enjoyed being enrolled here at SRTC when she said something that astounded me. “SRTC gave me back my hearing.” I almost sat up on the treatment table when she said that, because I was so stunned and confused. (I had not noticed her inconspicuous hearing aids until she motioned to them.) She then told me how she had struggled at another college because of her profound hearing loss. When she came to SRTC, she expected to struggle here as well. But then, she was introduced to Lisa Newton, our Special Populations Coordinator here on campus. Lisa was able to help her right away with an ‘FM System,’ a wireless device that would allow her teachers to wear a microphone while B.J. wore a set of headphones. For the first time in her college experience, she heard every word. Mrs. Newton told me the next day that she still has the text on her phone that B.J. sent to her on that first day. That message reads, “I was unsure about the system. Thank you so much! I can't believe how much it worked. I am humbled and feel so blessed for it. I can hear mostly all around in class now. Life changing in class.

Eventually, Mrs. Newton was able to put B.J. in contact with another organization that was able to provide a set of hearing aids for B. J. When I asked Mrs. Newton about this service, she smiled and said, "I love my job. I get to help great students like B.J. all the time. It's rewarding when I get see someone like B.J. really make it." Mrs. Newton provides assistance for students with a wide range of special circumstances, including those with disabilities or language barriers, as well as single parents and displaced homemakers. For those interested in contacting Lisa Newton about how SRTC can help them find success in college, her office number is 229-217-4132, and her email address is lnewton@southernregional.edu.

As B.J. finished my treatment, I felt great. I was relaxed, and my neck stiffness was certainly reduced; but mostly, I felt awestruck at the level that SRTC went above and beyond to help this remarkable woman reach her goals. Walking out of the Neuromuscular Massage Therapy clinic and into the lovely hallway, it occurred to me that there is a lot more that is beautiful about that building than just the way it looks.

For more information about the NMT program, contact Michaela Underwood at (229) 217-4160, or email her: munderwood@southernregional.edu. SRTC offers over 148 degree, diploma, and certificate programs that are designed to get you quickly into your desired career, and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC has instructional sites located in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Sylvester for the convenience of our students. The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. For the most up-to-date information on registration, class dates, and program offerings, log on to www.southernregional.edu or call (888) 205-3449. Fall Semester 2017 begins August 22nd. Don’t wait, enroll today!