Author, massage instructor & NCBTMB Approved Provider of Continuing Education: CEO of the Ariana Institute for Wellness Education Ariana Vincent

Ariana VincentTell us why you chose to go into massage and at what point in your life did you decide to do so? What were you doing at the time? Where did you first hear about the massage career? What factors influenced your decision? What were you looking to get out of this decision?

It seems a veil is lifting and our culture as a whole is beginning to see massage therapy in its true light.

We as a society are deepening our respect and appreciation for the integrative model of healing.

I am grateful to have found my vehicle for serving the world via the broad, expansive conduit of the massage therapy profession.

I grew up in a family of doctors, nurses, teachers, and writers. Through these roles models I was influenced at an early age to live a life of compassion and caring.

Since I am an approved CE provider through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Florida Board of Massage and the majority of other state boards, massage therapists throughout the United States can avail themselves of the Ariana institute’s CE course offerings in person and online in order to satisfy their state-mandated and NCB-mandated renewal requirements as well as to broaden their repertoire and increase their marketability.

2013-2015 – A few very special pinnacles of my career were as the receipt of the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame award in 2013 as well as the 2015 Alliance for Massage Therapy Education CE Provider of the Year Award.

2010 – I was delighted to be interviewed by an esteemed member of the massage community known as “The Massage Nerd,” Ryan Hoyme, for his online Massage Nerd Show in May of 2010  Our topic was “Continuing Education for Massage Therapists.”

2009 – Ten years after the state of Texas mandated hands-on Continuing Education (CE) credits for license renewal, online CE courses were approved. I was happy to begin offering online CE courses on January 1, 2009.

2000 – I completed the complex and lengthy process of preparation that culminated in my being granted the esteemed designation of Board Approved Continuing Education provider by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

I also created the Ariana Institute website with the help of an amazing webmaster. Becoming embedded in the technological realm was one of the best career moves I have ever made. The convenience of having all course descriptions and treatments on the web allowed me to manage my time much better and to reach a worldwide audience.

1999 – I saw an opportunity in 1999 to change course after nearly two decades of studying and practicing massage therapy. I obtained my certification as a massage therapy instructor and continuing education provider.

1985 – 1986 – The State of Texas passed legislation in 1985 requiring licensing for massage therapists. I was fortunate enough to be included in the first group of massage therapists to become licensed in Texas in 1986.

1982 – I became seriously ill in 1982 with respiratory and digestive distress and fatigue. It was during that period of illness that I took the opportunity to re-evaluate my life. I was drawn to seek and allow a different way of being to emerge. The wellness center I chose to assist with the restoration of my health was owned by two chiropractors I met when I was photographing an AAHHA event.

With their help, I overcame the illness and was back on my feet in a matter of months. One day in 1982 the chiropractors opened a new facility, the Family Wellness Resource Center. It was here that I began training to become a professional massage therapist. I gained valuable knowledge about anatomy, physiology, debilitating congenital issues and traumatic injuries related to accidents.

1981 – I remember receiving my first massage in 1981 in a soft and gentle environment in the quaint Clarksville neighborhood in Austin. The experience was unforgettable and life changing. The massage planted a seed that propelled me into a lifelong career in massage therapy.

1979 – My first introduction to a holistic and alternative health lifestyle was in 1979 when, while I was senior at the University of Texas. I worked at the precursor to Whole Foods Market, a small health food store called SaferWay.

I began learning about the importance of caring for our bodies, minds and spirits. Later in 1979 I graduated from the University of Texas with a B.A. and a B.F.A. in Fine Arts with a major emphasis in photography. I pursued my dream in the professional photography world for a decade or so.

While working as a photographer, I often photographed Austin Area Holistic Health Association (AAHHA) events. It was through these events that I met many people who would influence me to follow a new career path in massage therapy.

Looking back on my career as a nationally certified Massage Therapy Instructor and Licensed Massage Therapist, I attribute much of my success to being resilient in the face of obstacles, surrounding myself with supportive motivational peers, and keeping a positive perspective.

With that in mind, I leave you with a quote that I love to share at the end of my continuing education courses: “Remember to focus on the healing power of touch and the importance of its presence in our lives and in the lives of those we touch.”

What were some of your questions and concerns before further pursuing your massage therapy goals? Talk about concerns with school and the profession itself.

My goal was to become a massage therapy instructor and CE provider. I learned so much about the educational process by participating in numerous educational courses for over thirty years.

What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?

Education is my specialty. I am the CEO of the Ariana Institute for Wellness Education. The Ariana Institute provides 32 continuing education courses that are nationally approved by the NCBTMB. Each course includes a comprehensive course notebook, informative Power Point presentation, and high-definition instructional video. The Ariana Institute provides students with the resources to empower their massage practice, improve their skills, and uplift their professional lives.

The three top contributing factors contributing to my success are (1) participating in thousands of hours of CE classes over thirty years, (2) continuing to grow and expand my knowledge through education, (3) exploring a variety of specializations in the massage profession, for example, the Ariana Institute offers the following categories of training: Advanced Techniques, Medical Massage, Mind-Body Medicine, Self Care, Head-Hand and Foot Massage, spa Modalities and Professional Skills.

What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?

I love being an educator and author; the profession affords me the opportunity to give back to the massage community I love so much.

What do you not like about what you do? Why?

Complex applications and overly-detailed rules and regulations that are not uniform throughout the United States are challenging.

If there were three things you could change about your work or the industry as a whole what would they be? Why would you change them? What would you change them to?

I would encourage everyone to expand their knowledge base and explore the many specializations within the massage profession.

How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?

I have practiced almost four decades and I have been the CEO of the Ariana Institute for almost two decades and I plan to continue.

Do you currently have another job or business whether full time or part time? Tell us a bit more about it and how you are able to juggle that with your massage career?

Focusing on the ongoing success of the Ariana Institute for Wellness Education is my full-time career path.

What are some mistakes you made in your career pursuit that you’d like to warn other students about so they can learn from your experience and avoid it?

Establishing a good educational foundation has been the most rewarding aspect of being in the massage profession. I encourage massage therapists to become massage instructors and CE providers. As you teach, you learn. It would be a mistake to begin and nurture a career without the proper educational foundation. Education is an on-going activity; it is the key to success.

What would you advise someone who is looking at massage therapy schools? What do you recommend they look for and how? How do you recommend they determine whether the school is the right one for them?

If someone is interested in a massage therapy program, core curriculum or advanced continuing education, I would suggest that they read testimonials from previous students and communicate with previous students to help determine the quality of education one might expect to receive.

What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?

Consider the investment in education as a worthwhile expenditure and have the self-confidence to proceed accordingly. Money spent on education is the best investment one can possibly make. A quality education is of great value.

What are your three biggest points of advice for an aspiring massage therapist today? What should they do/not do? What should they think about and consider?

Consider your long-term goals, such as becoming a massage therapy instructor, and work to make those goals happen. Once the core curriculum classes have been completed, or even before that, consider what areas of specialization you want to focus on and take continuing education classes that will help you accomplish that goal. Keep learning and expanding your horizons throughout your career

Any open thoughts / comments – anything else that you’d like to share about yourself, the massage industry, profession, future, etc? If nothing, make one prediction for the future of massage?

Steps for becoming a massage therapy instructor:

The first step is to successfully complete a massage therapy instructor’s course, such as the one offered online by the Ariana Institute

If you are applying to become an NCBTMB approved massage therapy instructor and continuing education provider, send the Ariana Institute’s certificate of completion to NCBTMB with your application.

Contact your state board or governing entity to determine the rules and regulations in your state.

If you are a Texas licensed massage therapist, complete the MTI Application for the State of Texas and send the Ariana Institute’s certificate of completion to DSHS with your application and payment.

When you apply for a position as a massage therapy instructor, include your certificate of completion with your resume.

Focus on Your Goals for the Course

Focus on setting goals for your courses and choose content and format that will make each CE course work for you. Design your course notebooks. Utilize the services of a mentor or consultant to help you develop your course material.

Options for Working as a Massage Therapy Instructor

You can work as an independent massage therapy instructor, you can work for a massage therapy school, and/or you can work for a company that provides massage therapy classes nationwide and will hire you as an employee.

Marketing Your CE Courses as an Independent Massage Therapy Instructor

Develop marketing strategies that work. Determine your market and develop  compelling titles for your courses to capture the attention of your students.  Utilize the services of a mentor and/or marketing consultant.

Preparations for Teaching Your CE Courses

Focus on finding an appropriate space for teaching, setting prices, registering participants, receiving payments from participants, preparing rosters and certificates of attendance for the students and preparing for the event.

Teaching Your CE Class

Create a structure and an environment that participants will find beneficial and that they will enjoy. Utilize the resources at the end of this course notebook as well as the information you have gained in this course material.

Follow Up

Add participants to your ongoing e-mail list. Maximize the results of the workshop by using each CE class as a springboard to increasing the number of class participants.

Record Keeping – Keep the appropriate tax records and student records and rosters for your state massage therapy board.  Please be sure to follow all Federal tax guidelines and comply with all of your state massage therapy board’s rules and regulations.

What is your passion outside of massage? What are your hobbies and interests which you pursue when you are not working? Tell us why you enjoy what you enjoy.

In addition to being the CEO of the Ariana Institute for Wellness Education, I am the CEO of Ariana Images and I have been a photographer for over thirty years. My education includes a Bachelor’s Degree and Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree from The University of Texas at Austin with a major emphasis in photography, photojournalism and the history of photography.

My photographic specializations include landscapes, portraiture, weddings, commercial photography, musicians, photojournalism and fine art photography. I am a former assistant to Professor Helmut Gernsheim, founder of the Gernsheim Photography Collection housed at The University of Texas.

My academic education at the University of Texas at Austin included fine art photography (Garry Winogrand), photojournalism (J. B. Colson), commercial photography (Bob Solomon) and the history of photography (Helmut Gernsheim). My additional photographic experience includes employment as a custom black and white photographic laboratory technician at Custom Photographic Labs, Austin, Texas and as a color photographic laboratory technician at Photo Processors Lab, Austin, Texas.

Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, BCTMB is a NCBTMB Approved Provider of Continuing Education. She is also an author and a massage therapy instructor at the Ariana Institute for Wellness Education.  You can read more about her on her website:

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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