Mind, body & soul: self-awarness and natural healing

Gem elixirs. Flower essences. Aromatherapy. To the average person, these unfamiliar words make no sense, but to instructor Mary Anne Leary, this “wholistic” health jargon is used to explain the essence of the wellness program at Skyline.

In a nutshell, it is the art of stress reduction through natural healing arts and the development of self-awareness. Natural healing arts is the use of healing modalities, techniques used to reduce stress, such as massage therapy, gem elixirs, flower essences, herbology and Chinese medicine.

“I spell it with a ‘w,'” Leary said. “I do it for the ‘wholeness.'”

Leary explained that the wholeness of mind, body and soul are considered when learning the natural healing arts. And by paying attention and being aware of all three parts, the goal of stress reduction can be achieved.

Through self-awareness, “we are able to create harmony and well-being in our lives,” Leary said. “(It) allows us to choose natural healing modalities that can best assist us in our efforts to heal and bring balance into our everyday lifestyle habits.”

Training in the natural healing arts has been available at Skyline since 2008. It has drawn students who would like to pursue a career in the holistic arts.

Aspiring massage therapist Jessica Barrett says that the program is like a journey toward self-discovery. “The instructors are wonderful,” she added. The vocational training comes with lessons “applicable to life situations,” Barrett said. “It gives a good set of tools to deal with life (in general).” Barrett is now looking forward to the new program.

In the coming fall 2011 semester, a new program will be unveiled: the massage therapy certificate program. The program is the brainchild of Rachel Gaeta, a former Skyline cosmetology coordinator. The certificate program was introduced to widen the scope of the cosmetology department in order to give students more choices.  

 “(I)t’s a tremendous addition to Skyline,” Gaeta said, and students are the most important aspect. By opening a new avenue, it helps students explore the art of natural healing.

The program has no pre-requisites or any special application. However, the certificate program will require students to log in 500 hours of comprehensive training in the field of massage therapy. Students will learn various modalities with emphasis on a myriad of massage techniques such as reflexology, Swedish, seated, sideline and sports/injury.

The curriculum is not limited to massage therapy. It is complemented by related studies of physiology and anatomy, business and ethics, spa therapy techniques, and body mechanics for safety.

Students can apply for state certification and are guaranteed to be accepted because of the comprehensive training the curriculum provides.

Furthermore, the certificate program at Skyline is a great deal for those interested in the natural healing arts. Private training schools can charge up to $12,000, while the program offered at Skyline only costs between $1,500 and $1,700, which includes the table, supplies, enrollment fees and uniform.

Student financial support such as financial aid and scholarships are available. Other student services such as counseling, tutoring and library resources are offered to help students successfully complete the courses.

Stress is an omnipresent facet of life, and it varies in severity. Reducing stress can have a major impact on a person’s well-being and outlook on life. Therefore, there will always be a demand for stress-reducing professionals in the holistic arts.

For more information, visit www.skylinecollege.edu/wellness or contact wellness instructor Mary Anne Leary by emailing her at [email protected]