From Arizona to Minnesota: Massage Therapy Student Makes the Move for Hands-on Experience

Posted by on April 10, 2014

When massage therapy program student Coleen Weber moved from Tucson, Ariz., to St. Cloud, Minn., in order to register for classes at Minnesota School of Business, (MSB) she was just ahead of one of the most brutal winters on record. But nothing could dampen her spirits for her new adventure.

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Coleen Weber (right) and Maria Barchenger (left) are hands-on at the Electrolux Health Fair

Weber heavily researched colleges that offered massage therapy before applying to MSB. “The reputation of the school won me over,” she says. “I wanted the best education I could get for the field I was in.”

Weber worked in the administrative office of a doctor in Tucson, and when it was rumored he would retire, she decided to seek a career where she could make good on her desire to do something for people in a caretaker role—literally by using her hands.

And she has not been disappointed at MSB.

Weber has participated in applied learning projects and volunteer experiences which include working at the Spartan Challenge, a high school weight-lifting competition, and the Electrolux Health Fair for factory employees and their families.

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“We get exposure outside of class and [the opportunity] to represent the school,” she said. “It gives me an idea of what to expect when I start working.”

At first the contact with the public was intimidating, she admits. But with practice comes confidence, and Weber is comfortable in hands-on situations now.

There were other challenges early on as well, including science classes like Anatomy and Physiology. But Weber would not be deterred and sought help from the resource center on campus and directly from her instructors.

“Failure,” she said, “was not an option.”

Weber is now focused on her post-graduation goals which include working with special populations.

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Coleen Weber, massage therapy

“I’d like to work with children with ADHD,” she says. “I am treating two friends’ children now. It helps them with their attention span and sleeping. They look forward to it.”

Working with the children helps her apply her skills in a creative way, she adds.

For those just starting out on their massage therapy career, Weber has some friendly advice.

  • Don’t be afraid: don’t let yourself be intimidated. You have to get hands-on to learn.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Communication skills and massage skills. We need to listen and hear what’s being said to us. From the client’s mouth to our hands.
  • If you need help, go to the resource center. Help is here for you on campus.

Reflecting on her big move, Weber says, “I couldn’t have picked a better place.”

About the weather, she shrugs. “I didn’t really mind it. It’s the hoop you have to jump through to get where you want to go.”


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