I am a dentist and have been practicing here in the East Valley for the last four years. I love my profession but it is hard on my body, specifically my shoulders and neck. Each year I seem to notice more and more discomfort as I practice and occasionally even when I am away from work. It eventually got to a point where I could actually feel a burning and tingling sensation around my shoulder blades. I would notice this one to two times a day, sometimes while working, but sometimes just driving down the freeway. Knowing I want to practice dentistry for a very long time I have sought out many different professional opinions on how to best manage this issue and to hopefully find some relief. The only real relief I have found has been with massage. I have become a regular to several of the spas in the area receiving 2-3 massages per month, which has been helpful to a point.
Taran Emmert was initially going to a fine arts school, yet she couldn’t fathom the idea of waiting six more years until graduation. So, she followed her inner yearning to discover a new path. She always had an interest in massage and yoga, so she checked out four different schools. SWIHA was the last one she checked out, and immediately, it felt like home. While other schools were pushy with their approach, Taran shared how SWIHA felt so different than the others. “My advisor said: Take your time to think about it. Pray about it, let the answers come to you.”
In February of 2012, Taran enrolled into the 750-hour professional massage practitioner program
, which allowed her enough elective credits to also complete the 200-hour Yoga teacher training.
Paul Smith is the epitome of a SWIHA #GreatGraduate, displaying the reverent and resilient balance between action and stillness. Paul is a life-long student who has used every ounce of his experience to expand his own personal growth and empower that in others.
He shares that he has found his life purpose through integrating his past experiences and observations: “Human beings have the capacity to be so healthy and so happy. All people can have a very loving connection between family, friends, colleagues and teammates. I have been observing and studying throughout my entire life so that I could help others. Unfortunately a few tragedies have occurred: my grandfather died of cancer, my high school head football coach died of cancer, my little cousin overdosed on prescription medication and my little brother took his own life. I've observed so many other tragedies and challenges - and numerous disheartening news stories are aired every day.
William Mauzerall’s transformational journey from military service to massage therapist is an inspirational testimony of accepting and leaning into life’s opportunities. William, an honored military veteran, completed three years of services to our country and found himself at a crossroads after completing his military career. Having been fortunate to have the GI Bill assist with funding his educational dreams, William asked for guidance from his brother on the educational direction in which he should travel. William, a strategic thinker with an openness to consider many educational endeavors pursued the Massage Therapy program at SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Art) for a few reasons: He would earn an associate’s degree from an accredited institution, he could enjoy the climate of the Southwest and it was a program that gave him man options to choose from in developing his gifts. William describes a peace and serenity in making his decision to pursue massage therapy through SWIHA -- he knew in his soul it was the right direction for him. In looking back on this decision, William now can see his footsteps to SWIHA transformed his life far deeper than a massage program.
As William began his program, he quickly found the coursework academically challenging. He embraced the notion that if the program did not challenge him, it would not change him. Through coaching and mentoring from his teachers, he learned the key difference between being a good massage therapist and great massage therapist is the ability to view the body as a whole instead of the sum of its parts. Through the life cycle of his program, beginning with the anatomy class, William learned the basics by breaking down the body to its simplest elements: molecules, cells, tissues and systems. As awareness and exploration continued through his coursework, William learned it is impossible to touch a body without understanding the impact on the whole body at every level.
As awareness and exploration continued through his coursework, William learned it is impossible to touch a body without understanding the impact on the whole body at every level.
Like many students who attend SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts), Elizabeth Brotherson came to the school looking for an alternative career path. She was hoping to supplement her income as a preschool teacher by earning a living doing something she was passionate about. Elizabeth had always been drawn to energy work and had a natural intuition for knowing when someone might need help or healing, so when she found SWIHA, she knew it was the perfect fit for her.
“SWIHA embraces the total embodiment of the healing arts, encouraging you to use your natural abilities, while giving you the tools to take it that extra step to make you a successful therapist,” she explains regarding what attracted her to SWIHA.
Elizabeth, or Beth, as she often goes by, enrolled in SWIHA’s Professional Massage Practitioner 750 hour program, and immediately began her journey to becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist. She says after starting her first myotherapy class she was hooked! She went on to take every myotherapy class SWIHA offered, as well as deep tissue, massage, trigger point courses, and sports massage, in addition to core courses such as anatomy and reflexology.
Published Author. Massage Therapist. Teacher. Spiritual Coach. Aromatherapist. Clinical Nurse. Holistic Entrepreneur. These are just some of the many titles Marci Cagen can put on her resume. A graduate of SWIHA’s Massage Therapy program, Marci’s interest in massage therapy and holistic health stemmed from her years of experience as a clinical nurse, and grew into a business that extends beyond one or two holistic modalities.
“I originally enrolled at SWIHA while I was working as a clinical nurse at Phoenix Children’s Hospital so I could learn some alternative therapies that would support the patients I worked with,” Marci explains. “They were in so much pain, and I wanted to be able to offer healing modalities that would complement the medications they were prescribed, alleviating associated side effects, while offering support to the mind, body, spirit and emotions.” Marci’s interest in reflexology guided her to massage therapy, and multiple other healing modalities followed. Once she completed her massage therapy program, Marci felt she needed to leave her nursing career to “answer the call of my soul.” During her time studying at SWIHA, she learned how to embrace her spiritual healing gifts, and upon graduating, Marci began to create a life of helping others tap into their spiritual gifts.
Kiera Stroup always wanted to move to Arizona. A native New Yorker, Kiera earned her Bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and then began a corporate I.T. career that lasted 27 years and took her to Connecticut, California, and finally Memphis, Tennessee. It was at the University of Memphis where she earned her MBA. However, Kiera still longed to live in the Grand Canyon State. In 2013, Kiera’s corporate I.T. career came to an unexpected end when the company she worked for eliminated her position. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, Kiera took it as a sign and headed for the Valley of the Sun to fearlessly pursue her dream.
Since Kiera had a longtime interest in skincare, she felt that a career change to the field of natural beauty would be a good fit for her. She found Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) and called to inquire about aesthetics programs. Based on Kiera’s other interest in massage, her Admission Coach suggested SWIHA’s 1000-hour Massage program
, which would allow her to become dually licensed in massage and aesthetics. This specific program is unique, in that, students have the opportunity to complete part of their program at Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics (SWINA), SWIHA’s branch campus where the natural aesthetics programs and courses are held, located two miles south of the main campus in Tempe, Arizona.
While Jorinda Nardone currently holds the title of Spa Director of the 40,000 square foot Green Valley Ranch Spa in Las Vegas
, the road to this level of success was paved with hard work, long hours and dedication. A 2001 graduate of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts’ (SWIHA) Massage Program, Jorinda came to SWIHA for what she thought was a career change, however, during her program she began to notice a transformation within herself, and heal old wounds in the process. Taking a look at herself and her healing process led Jorinda on a completely different path than the one she originally intended to take.
Once graduated, and armed with an array of knowledge and her massage license, Jorinda went to work launching her business. She opened her first business, Lemongrass Massage Therapy, and quickly started to see clients. Jorinda jumped at the chance to open her own business, because not only was it the perfect way to use her education in a loving and profitable way, it was also a great opportunity for her own personal growth.
Like many massage therapists and massage enthusiasts, Ronna Everhart found massage after decades of discomfort and chronic pain. At 12 years old, she chipped her tailbone in an accident. “I broke my bum!” she exclaims with a laugh. Although she is full of laughter and smiles now, most of her life consisted of pain and discomfort. Between the ages of 19 to 24, Ronna gave birth to three children, which really did a number on her low back. She became dependent on over the counter medicine, such as Ibuprofen daily, to alleviate her pain, yet it wasn’t enough. Chiropractors, and even the occasional glass or two of wine, to relax the muscles proved futile as well.
By the age of 30, Ronna had tried almost everything to help her pain: TENS units, decompression, pain clinics, physical therapy, pain creams, shots…the list goes on!
After 32 years of dealing with the after effects of her tail bone injury, which caused chronic arthritis due to the persistent low back pain, Ronna’s life started to become negatively affected in all areas: mind, body and soul. Her finances were suffering from the out of pocket chiropractic costs, in addition to other health related expenses. She reached a point where she was “fed up with doctors, once and for all!”
Fortunately for Ronna, a shift was coming. Change was lurking around the corner. “I made a huge mind shift, and decided I was going to heal myself with action and perseverance!” she affirmed.