the school, with the river in the foreground


an instructor in explaining to a group of students


student giving a practice massage

Ten Top Tips on
How to Choose the Right Massage School

  1. Make sure the school has an appropriate and attainable mission statement.

    The Downeast School of Massage (DSM) trains individuals in the art and science of therapeutic massage for an entry-level professional career, for continuing education and for personal growth. The word individual is very important to those of us at DSM. No one is just a number or gets lost in the class at DSM.
  2. Be sure to see the therapeutic environment.

    The DSM is located on 100 acres in a serene learning environment. Many students comment that they feel calmer just by driving onto the school campus and seeing the 35-acre pond stretching out from the fields. The 8000-square-foot facility has large windows that allow natural light in the spacious classrooms.
  3. Review the faculty’s credentials for experience and skill.

    The faculty of a massage school should be experienced in the field that they are teaching. DSM has experts who teach, many of whom have been with the school for over 20-25 years. Read the bios of all the faculty of a school.
  4. Research the curriculum and ask questions about the content.

    DSM has been in operation for over 30 years and has a time-tested curriculum that is based on standards and competencies. The diverse curriculum offers an introduction to many holistic modalities that compliment the core instruction and touch therapies. The catalog provides a description of each course taught at DSM.
  5. Review the administrative staff and owners.

    The experienced staff at DSM assists in all the administrative processes from admissions to graduation. Meet staff and the director at an open house.
  6. Attend an open house.

    DSM has frequent open houses that give the prospective student a snapshot of the massage school experience. It is an opportunity to see the campus, talk to staff and instructors, view classes, and interact with current students.
  7. Talk to graduates of the school; get a massage from a graduate.

    DSM is happy to give names of graduates to prospective students. We have a referral list of graduates that have been successful in the field of massage therapy; many have been in practice for over 20-30 years. DSM Director Nancy Dail has been a therapist for over 40 years. DSM dispels the myth that a massage therapist can only last so long in the profession; a successful practice includes a therapist with good body mechanics, ethics, and solid therapeutic skills.
  8. Attend a class, if possible.

    DSM has scheduled many open houses at the same time as regularly scheduled classes. Contact staff to attend an open house or a class at another time.
  9. Check out the books and materials the school uses to teach.

    DSM has required and recommended books for all its courses. Each course has a syllabus that outlines the course description, course objectives, date and time of course, books, and materials needed for the course. DSM utilizes its own massage DVD A Gift of Touch that assists in learning technique classes. Nancy Dail has also written Kinesiology for Manual Therapies, published by McGraw-Hill, that is used for her course in Kinesiology. The DSM Store can assist in obtaining books at the best possible prices, even used books when available. There is always a display of books and manuals at the frequent open houses.
  10. Make sure the end result of your massage school education matches state law.

    Upon graduation from DSM, the individual is awarded a diploma and transcript and is eligible to obtain a Maine state license in massage therapy. Before graduation, each student is given appropriate information on licensing for massage therapy in Maine and also for the national certification process. National certification is not required for licensing if you have graduated from DSM; it is a voluntary test that would enable you to have an additional credential.