Branford, CT’s Massage Therapy Program: Inspired Leadership

Branford alum enjoys the opportunity to pay it forward

Rose Pericas has been the lead massage therapy instructor at Branford Hall’s flagship campus for five years. But that’s not where her history with the career institute – or the program – began. Pericas graduated as a member of Branford’s first-ever massage therapy training program back in 2004. She had aspired to a career in massage therapy from the time she was 11 years old.

Pericas’ approach is based upon a combination of experience and exuberance. Her academic goal is to put Branford students in a position to secure employment. But her constant hope is that students will also enter the field with a supreme level of integrity – the sense that “massage therapy is more than just muscle and movement; It’s the power of touch.”

­­­­­­From the classroom to a career

At the Branford, CT campus, students are not only learning in the classroom, they’re also gaining experience as practitioners. During the final weeks of every term, there is one student chosen to complete an externship at Yale University’s Smilow Cancer Center (located in nearby New Haven). That student provides several weeks’ worth of massage therapy to patients who benefit from the much-needed relief.

In addition, there is a student-run massage clinic located right on Branford’s flagship campus. The public is welcome to schedule a full session at the clinic for $30 (Branford students are entitled to a $5 discount). There’s no tipping allowed, as volunteers are meant to benefit from the experience, as opposed to the money. But any donations allow Pericas to schedule several out-of-class events throughout each term.

Applying all the lessons learned

Last August, several of Pericas’ students provided an afternoon of complimentary massage at nearby Aria Larsen Retirement Community. In September, her class set up a massage tent in conjunction with Yale’s Closer to Free Ride, an annual fundraiser for the Smilow Cancer Center. On May 12th, Pericas’ current class is holding an afternoon of free hand massages in conjunction with Nurse’s Week at Claire’s Corner Copia in downtown New Haven.

Throughout the course of several months, massage therapy students are not only learning all the applicable terms and muscle groups; they’re also building arm strength, stamina and endurance. More importantly, they’re gaining a grasp on how the philosophy of massage can have an impact in their lives. This way, when they graduate, they’ll be prepared to take on a positive role.

Do you think a career in massage therapy might be a fit for you? Contact Branford Hall to schedule a tour or request more information.