Career Fair Follow Up

by Jason VonGerichten

A few weeks ago, Soma hosted its first ever Career Fair. We had CEU providers, raffles, prizes, and we had several employers to talk to our students and alumni. We followed up with four of them following the Career Fair to ask a few more questions. These representatives were from:


Hand and Stone. “A massage and facial spa which is part of a franchise of the same name. We are 1 of 215 locations around the U.S. And the first one in Chicago.”

Fitness Formula Clubs. “Established in 1984 and is Chicago’s largest, privately owned reciprocal usage provider of health, fitness and wellness facilities.  We offer top notch facilities and amenities and provide service to our members and support for our employees that is second to none.”

Urban Oasis. “An upscale massage therapy spa, employing 65 massage therapists, situated in two Zen-like, north side Chicago locations.”

Spa In Your Space. “A full-service Mobile Spa that provides on-site Spa services for private and corporate groups. We offer Chair Massage, Table Massage, Facials, Manicures, Pedicures and more.”

My first question was: What do you look for in a new employee?


Fitness Formula Clubs: FFC is seeking talented, entrepreneurial, dynamic, and responsible therapists to cater to the needs of our active, athletic, and discerning membership base.

Urban Oasis: Good technical skills but, just as importantly, someone passionate about massage with a caring attitude and a knack for connecting with clients.
Spa In Your Space: With new employees we look for individuals that are professional, great personalities, trainable and can work in different environments. Keeping in mind we are a Mobile Spa and work in homes, offices, hotels and other sites being professional and able to work in different environments is a must.

Have you ever hired a Soma graduate?

Hand and Stone: When our spa opened three months ago there were only two Soma grads working there.  The rest of our MT’s were from elsewhere and the differences are truly staggering. Since becoming Lead Massage Therapist and encouraging my manager to attend the job fair, we have hired two more Soma grads with another few hopefully being hired soon.
Fitness Formula Clubs: We have hired many Soma graduates who have had great success at FFC.
Urban Oasis: We’ve probably hired a dozen Soma grads over the years.


Spa In Your Space: Yes, we have hired several Soma graduates with great results.

And lastly, I asked them what they think makes a Soma graduate different from graduates from other schools.

Hand and Stone: Soma teaches stronger techniques, more secure draping, and a level of professionalism that is clearly not stressed at other schools. I sincerely hope that we can be fully staffed by Soma grads soon. When I own my own Hand & Stone next year I fully intend to hire only Soma Graduates.
Fitness Formula Clubs: Soma graduates have been a very good match for FFC’s members in that they are very prepared, and approach massage from a clinical perspective. Soma graduates’ awareness of kinesiology and body movement seems to really resonate with our clientele.

urbanoasis Urban Oasis: I have found the Soma grads to be a little more prepared for employment, with better therapeutic skills.
Spa In Your Space: Soma graduates seem to be better prepared in dealing with the clients and understanding the concept of time and professionalism. They are also very eager to work. Also, in our business, being punctual and showing excitement is very important and seems to be instilled in the Soma graduates we have hired. This is also the reason why we tend to favor them more.

We really enjoyed having these fine folks at our first ever Career Fair, and would like to thank them again for their time. If you want any more information about any of the businesses mentioned, just follow the links above.

And if they made Soma sound like the massage school for you, schedule a visit with one of our admissions representatives today!

My Massage Music Dilemma

by Jason VonGerichten

new age music pic


I asked my colleagues and friends:


What type of music do you listen to when you are giving or receiving a massage?


I’ve struggled with different types of music in the past.  The obvious answer, and the one I received many varieties of, was new-age music.  Or what experts refer to as “barely music.”  Look, I agree, this stuff is soothing.  It starts with some crickets chirping, or a brook babbling.  The nature sounds eventually fade into some unidentifiable yet harmless horn instrument which is trying very hard to not sound too exciting. (We don’t want to stray into that booty-shaking Kenny G smut.)  Soon after a keyboard sneaks its way in and snuggles up to your ears like a puppy on Quaaludes.  By the time you reach what passes for a chorus on Planet Enya (because whatever musician is performing, this is clearly their home world) synthesizers and even a muffled string instrument or two have gently joined in, and your client has been completely and utterly lulled.

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Watch Out For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

by Jason VonGerichten


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the scourge of anyone who works with their hands.  It is most commonly a repetitive stress injury, meaning it’s caused by doing the same actions over and over.  It can also be caused by trauma or edema in the wrists, but most often it’s attributed to flexing and extending your wrists too often without administering any self-care techniques, like ice if it’s inflamed, heat if it’s achy, or self massage and stretching.

carpal tunnel syndromeThe carpal tunnel is the small space at the base of your hand, just a smidge beyond the wrist crease and right in between the two pads (the thenar eminence and hypothenar eminence) of your palm.  The base of this tunnel is, of course, made up of your carpal bones, and the roof is the flexor retinaculum, aka the transverse carpal ligament (in pictures it looks like a strip of masking tape going across your wrist).


In this tiny amount of space travels ten structures.  Nine of those structures are tendons for muscles that move your fingers, thumb and wrist.  The other structure, and the most superficial of the bunch, is your median nerve, which is what gets compressed with CTS, and what causes pain into your lateral three and a half digits (your thumb, index finger, middle finger, and lateral half of your ring finger).

The pain from CTS is a nerve pain, which means it can range from numbness and tingling to a shooting electrical pain.  It is often described as a “painful numbness” that wakes you up at night, and in fact one of the main complaints of CTS sufferers is lack of sleep.

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Super Stress

By Jason VonGerichten.


There was once a man from Lithuania who owned a haberdashery in Cleveland.  On June 2, 1932, during the Great Depression, a man attempted to rob the haberdashery, pointing a gun at the owner.  The owner, profoundly afraid of guns, had a heart attack and died on the spot.  The robber was never caught.


One third of all deaths are caused by heart disease, and more heart attacks occur on Monday than on any other day.  This would lead one to assume that these heart attacks are work-related.


Studies show that when your stress levels rise, many things can go wrong with your circulatory system, the worst, of course, being death.


Your white blood cell count increases to cope with whatever danger you may be facing.  This would be great if you were facing off with an actual pathogen, but when facing off with emotional stress, these extra blood cells can cause blockages in your coronary arteries.

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Plank You Very Much For The Pain Relief

Most of us will suffer some sort of back pain at some point.  Is yours a deep achiness in your low back that no amount of stretching seems to cure?  This pain might be caused by a postural deviation known as hyperlordosis.


All of our spines are curved.  If they weren’t the simple impact from walking would rapidly destroy our vertebrae.  It’s when your low back has an excessive curve, going from a normal lordotic curve, to an abnormal hyperlordotic curve, problems may arise. (Sorry, Kim Kardashian; that’s not healthy).



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