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 class room 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."