Daniel Pretends Eagle
Daniel Pretends Eagle
  1. What led you to the choice to go to massage school?

After years of meditation and martial arts I felt that I had developed some unique skills that were not being fully utilized. I also felt that I was not doing enough to help others.

  1. How did you choose UNM-Taos?

Attending UNM-Taos allowed me stay at home, work and maintain a flow of income while attending school.

  1. What was the greatest gift of attending massage school?

The greatest gift of massage school was the realization that I could make a difference in people’s lives by helping to alleviate their physical pain and emotional anxiety. Amazingly enough, the only tools that were required were the bodies and minds of me and my clients.

  1. What was the greatest challenge?

The greatest challenge was maintaining a high GPA while working full time and dealing with a pet that was dying of cancer.

  1. How are you integrating and working with your certificate in massage in the workplace now?

I am working full time as a massage therapist and movement instructor. I am able to observe the benefits to others of my training and practice on a daily basis. My life has improved on every level.

  1. What piece of advice would you give a potential student in massage?

Leave your shoes and your ego at the door.

Nichole (Nikki) Rodriguez
Nichole (Nikki) Rodriguez
  1. What led you to the choice to go to massage school?

I am a survivor of an armored robbery. I suffered from head injuries due to the incident. Western Doctors placed me on many medications (antidepressants, sleep medications, anxiety medications & pain medications). After losing myself through medication, I refused western medication and decided to take an alternative route. I turned to massage therapy and acupuncture. I noticed the positive change and the healing way my body reacted to massage therapy. I chose massage school to become a tool to help others in their journey of healing and…PAY IT FORWARD!

  1. How did you choose UNM-Taos?

I chose UNM Taos because I am a single mom that had kids in the local school system. UNM Taos was the closest school that had a massage program. After attending the massage program at UNM Taos, I realized that this was one of the best life decisions that I have ever made. Excellent program!

  1. What was the greatest gift of attending massage school?

The greatest gift in attending massage school was being able to find myself. This journey opened up parts of me that I had closed for so many years. It also opened up parts of me that I never knew existed. Massage school gave me the gift of giving back.

  1. What was the greatest challenge?

In two words…ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY! Lol…I can laugh about it now but at the time that was my kryptonite. I had some amazing instructors that were patient, understanding and never gave up on me. Through their instruction I was able to conquer my challenge and graduate. Now anatomy and physiology excite me!

  1. How are you integrating and working with your certificate in massage in the workplace now?

I currently integrate my certificate in massage by volunteering my services with women dealing with domestic violence and rape survivors. I am also working on extending my services to women who suffer from chronic illness and cancer.

  1. What piece of advice would you give a potential student in massage?

Don’t miss any classes…cause the one class that you miss could be the missing piece to your puzzle! Soak in every piece of knowledge. The instructors are a rare breed with invaluable knowledge. Enjoy your journey and may it be blessed beyond measures! :)

Irina Sels
Irina Sels
  1. What led you to the choice to go to massage school?

A combination of reasons: my desire to move to New Mexico and to have a career change, my interest in alternative ways of healing, an unconscious need for self healing. I guess I did not know I would love it and that my intuitive touch will be such a gift.

  1. How did you choose UNM-Taos?

A little out of the blue but some of the reasons were: the affordable price, the location, the international student visa option, the flexibility of the program, the quality of the teachers, and the diversity of the classes given.

  1. What was the greatest gift of attending massage school?

To love what I am doing on a daily basis, to feel I have an endless field to explore, to help people alleviate pain, discomfort or that you simply make them feel good and happy, to discover my gifts and purpose.

  1. What was the greatest challenge?

A lot of personal healing unfolded during massage school but it was never really a challenge more a process. The greatest challenge is surviving financially by doing only massage in the environment you feel has the most integrity for yourself and for the client.

  1. How are you integrating and working with your certificate in massage in the workplace now?

In the past three years I have been working in many different places in order to get more experience and to create my own practice.

  1. What piece of advice would you give a potential student in massage?

If you are not passionate and a giver, this field may be not the right one for you, being a massage therapist you learn a lot about yourself, understand the need of self care, compassion for other and endless need to learn the magic of the body.

Andra Maddox
Andra Maddox
  1. What led you to the choice to go to massage school?

I have always been interested in the body and the healing arts.  I was inspired to pursue a career in massage by a friend and fellow massage therapist whom I the privilege of working with, as her client, for several years.  That relationship not only educated me about my body and helped me to heal but also inspired me to want to be able to offer that same care and healing to others.

  1. How did you choose UNM-Taos?

The massage program at UNM-Taos is lead by two phenomenal teachers.  In learning more about the program and talking with Kirstie and Tony, it was apparent that they are passionate about the work and are anatomy geeks, from that perspective, it was a perfect fit for me.  The program is also designed in a way that was convenient and allowed me to continue taking care of my children while also going to school.  For me, the decision was a no brainer.

  1. What was the greatest gift of attending massage school?

This program provided me a ‘boost’ on my journey of self-discovery.  I am forever grateful for being guided compassionately and empathically down a path where in learning how to help others heal, I made great strides at my own healing.

  1. What was the greatest challenge?

That same journey of self-discovery is a tricky one, one in which hurdles arise.  I wouldn’t change that experience for anything, it was challenging at times, however I came out of it more self-aware and more whole.

  1. How are you integrating and working with your certificate in massage in the workplace now?

I am currently practicing massage, privately, at a space I rent in town.  I also obtained my yoga teacher training certificate through UNM-Taos and enjoy being able to offer both therapies to my clients.

    6. What piece of advice would you give a potential student in massage?

If this works speaks to you, if you can put aside your own issues/problems of the day and be available, fully, to help someone else, well that’s the root of this work.  When in school, study, trust yourself, have courage to learn and expand your horizons, and when you finish the program don’t let that be the end of your education. s leo.

Amanda Straka
Amanda Straka
  1. What led you to the choice to go to massage school?

I had studied trigger point therapy informally for years, and studied Homeopathy formally for 3 years. It was my own experience with sciatica and being helped so greatly through the pain by massage that made me want to study massage. I wanted to learn the magic that was performed on me!

  1. How did you choose UNM-Taos?

My massage therapist that helped me through sciatica happened to be one of the teachers at UNM-Taos. So, of course I wanted to study there! Also, comparing schools nationwide, it was the best price for a really solid education.

  1. What was the greatest gift of attending massage school?

Learning to listen with my hands. As a homeopath I learned to listen to bodies and peoples symptoms in a different way. As a massage therapist, my hands do the conversing. It is amazing what they hear.

  1. What was the greatest challenge?

Being open when I wasn’t ready to be. Receiving massage when I didn’t want to be touched.

  1. How are you integrating and working with your certificate in massage in the workplace now?

I got licensed right after graduation, and have been working full time as a massage therapist ever since. I have worked at several spas, an integrative medical clinic and in private practice.

  1. What piece of advice would you give a potential student in massage?

Massage school is a wonderful experience no matter what you “do” with it. We should all know our bodies as well as massage therapists do! Many people go through school and don’t practice full time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Practicing massage, being part of the industry is much different than learning how to do it.