In 2013, the Massage Therapy program began an internship that has transformed lives and brought comfort to a group of people in great need of the calming properties of touch. For 15 weeks each spring, second-year massage therapy students visit the Schwab Family Cancer center at the UPMC Western Maryland to provide massages to oncology patients. For many patients, this is a respite from the rigors of cancer treatment and an opportunity to escape from their diagnosis for just a few moments. The massage sessions are a wonderful complement to the entire treatment plan. Acceptance of the body without judgment can be healing in and of itself.

The experience is incredibly enriching. We are very happy to have this partnership, as it really distinguishes our two year degree program from other massage therapy programs both in our own state of Maryland and our surrounding states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. This internship has allowed our students to get a practical experience unlike any classroom experience, and it enhances the level of professionalism of our students.


  • “…finally realizing what I was born to do in this world.  Being surrounded by individuals who are literally fighting for their lives with no idea of what their future holds but choosing to run full steam ahead, anyway, truly opened my eyes to the power and beauty of the soul.” I have also learned that no matter how grim this life can be there will always be someone in my dark corner supporting my recovery.  It was an honor to be one of those positive life forces for these patients.
  • “I think this internship really ingrained a sense of humility into me. Being able to be there for others and the sense of service that goes along with it was and is absolutely amazing. I think a lot of medical professionals get stuck in their heads sometimes and I think massage therapists have less of a chance of that, even in a hospital setting, because of how we interact with our patients. I think there is a way that we can be professional while still being present and in an attitude of service with our patients, and this internship really helped show me that.” 
  • “The biggest professional lesson I have taken from this experience is working in a medical setting. I have never previously worked in a medical setting, and I had not known if I would like it or not. I found it deeply rewarding and not at all the sterile environment I thought it would be. 
  • "This internship changed my whole outlook on life and showed me why I became a Massage therapist. By being aware and in the moment with my patient, I was able to notice the prime details of the session."
  • "It was very interesting getting to work side by side with other health care professionals. It was also an amazing feeling to bring ease not only to the patients but to workers of UPMCWMD as well. Being able to bring down stress and to help everyone feel relaxed took a huge weight off the room. I genuine feel all hospitals should have Massage Therapists."
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