DSLCC Massage Therapy program head gains advanced credentials

DSLCC Massage Therapy Program Head Gloria Lawrence
DSLCC Massage Therapy Program Head Gloria Lawrence

Gloria L. Lawrence, head of the Massage Therapy program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, recently gained advanced credentials and also has been selected to participate in a national project to establish and regulate the practice of massage therapy and related modalities. 

Lawrence added Advanced Management of the Lymphatic System to her Complex Lymphatic Therapy (CLT) and Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT) designation at the Academy of Lymphatic Studies in West Palm Beach, FL. This is a  national certification and adds to Lawrence’s many credentials, which include advanced training in Balanced Reflexology, Board Certification for Therapists and Body Works, Master’s Level Pilates, as an American Red Cross instructor, and graduate work completed at New York University, among others.

Lawrence also is serving on a prestigious national board to improve instructor education in the massage therapy field. She is the Director in charge of the Teacher Training Curriculum Development Committee for the National Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE). “We are beginning the second phase of the TESP (Teacher Standards Project),” explains Lawrence. “The AFMT is setting the standards for educators in our field.

“There are other stakeholders that monitor practitioner practices and the scope of practice of which I am a member,” notes Lawrence. She is  a Professional Member of the American Massage Therapy Association(AMTA) and board certified by The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) which is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). DSLCC is an assigned school with the NCBTMB. Lawrence is certified through the Commonwealth of Virginia-Board of Nursing, and is a Certified Medical Massage Therapist (CMMT); her  license is through the Board of Nursing (LMT).

“Massage is one of many therapies that complement traditional medicine,” comments Lawrence. “As I learn more about types of options used toward improving the overall health and wellness of patients,  I am convinced that gaining these advanced credentials allows me to bring even more knowledge and experiences that I can incorporate into the DSLCC massage therapy program for our students. After they complete the program and begin career pathways related to massage therapy they will be exposed to these complementary therapies gaining in popularity and they will be ahead of those who have no knowledge of these modalities. I am delighted and honored to be able to be part of a team that will have the chance to establish credentials, monitor practitioners and regulate practices at the national level.”

Lawrence brings 30 years of experience in massage therapy and related fields to DSLCC. This past year, her students completed clinical work at Augusta Health Care Systems in Waynesboro; in-patient clinicals start there in spring, 2014. For the past two years DSLCC massage therapy students have been providing chair massages during National Nurses Week, and DSLCC students have been conducting sports massages for athletes at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington.

Individuals who successfully complete the DSLCC program and earn a form of national certification can look forward to outstanding employment opportunities in a wide variety of settings. Clinical experiences during the college courses expose the students to several options for jobs, such as long-term care centers, hospital-based wellness programs, salons, and full-service spas.

Key partners with DSLCC in the program are establishments such as resort properties offering the newest therapies and fitness programs. Guests are increasingly interested in wellness and health information that can be incorporated into busy and active lifestyles. To this end, Lawrence schedules activities with personnel such as presentations and spa tours, and tailors her courses to include a focus on professionalism and customer service at levels expected of employees at all types of properties.

“We have some regional facilities that are among the best, and, accordingly, I want our graduates to prepare to become imbued in a culture of excellence in providing therapeutic massages that would enable them to apply for employment at facilities of that caliber,” commented Lawrence.

For more information contact Lawrence at the DSLCC Rockbridge Regional Center in Buena Vista at 540-261-1211 or email glawrence@dslcc.edu. The fall semester at DSLCC begins Aug. 21.