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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

The Gentle Healing School of Massage Sets Student Up for Success

Jan 07, 2014 02:43PM
by Lauressa Nelson

The Gentle Healing School is a dedicated massage therapy school, accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and directed by its founder, Donda Sternberg, who started the school in 1996 and has been a licensed, practicing massage therapist since 1987. The school operates from a 5,500 square-foot building, designed specifically to function as a massage school yet to match the look and feel of Sternberg’s Gentle Healing Wellness Spa, housed in an 1853 Queen Anne Victorian farmhouse on the same property.

Gentle Healing School offers 600-hour and 1,000-hour educational training courses in massage. The teaching approach is hands-on and presents the anatomical and physiological knowledge from Western science, as well as the respect for energy and the mind-body-spirit connection drawn from Easter philosophies.

In addition to a solid educational foundation, Sternberg stresses that massage therapy is not just a job, but also a way of life, and encourages students to develop themselves personally. All classes begin with a meditation to help students focus their energy and incorporate it into their healing practice. Sternberg meets with every student at least twice during the course of the program and maintains an open-door policy for students to see her anytime.

The program promises student contact with at least seven different instructors, which exposes them to a variety of knowledge, skills and modalities. Program instructors have between 8 and 25 years of experience, and many own businesses that specialize in the modality they teach, bringing real-world knowledge to the classroom.

For schools to measure success and requalify for accreditation each year, a number of quantitative statistics are compared. Gentle Healing is required to quantify its success annually in terms of the school’s completion rate (percentage of students that graduate of the total that started). For 2012, Gentle Healing School had a 100 percent completion rate. Also, 100 percent of Gentle Healing School students that elected to take the national massage therapist certification exam passed, compared to the average pass rate for New Jersey, coming in at just over 59 percent. In 2011, out of the more than 800 institutions accredited by the ACCSC, Gentle Healing School for Massage Therapy was one of only 13 to receive the association’s School of Excellence award.

Gentle Healing School of Massage participates with numerous professional organizations including the New Jersey Department of Education, American Massage Therapy Association, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.

Location: 1274 South River at Cranbury Rd., Cranbury. For more information, call 609-409-2700 or visit

Lauressa Nelson is a contributing editor for Natural Awakenings magazines across the country. She lives in Florida. Connect at [email protected]

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