New Stillpoint Center for Advanced Education

March 11, 2011

Looks to the Future

Professional bodyworkers seeking to put the spark back in their careers now have a place to go for affordable, local lifelong learning. This spring, GCC’s New Stillpoint Center for Advanced Massage Education is offering courses covering functional anatomy and assessment, peer supervision, the business of bodywork practices, and other topics. The Center is also asking professional massage therapists, massage educators, and other health care professionals about their continuing education needs.Patricia Wachter is Coordinator of the New Stillpoint Center and the Center’s teaching faculty includes GCC faculty members Rob Hayden, Jan Luzzi, Holly Parker, and Heather Neal. Focus groups led by Wachter and Neal at the New England Regional conference of the American Massage Therapy Association and across western Massachusetts will solicit input on the Center’s curriculum.

Describing the New Stillpoint Center, Wachter said, “Stillpoint’s mission has always been to increase the professionalization of our field. Now, with a seasoned faculty, we are taking advanced study of massage therapy beyond the weekend workshop model. Our in-depth training and follow-up coursework will help massage therapists and other health care professionals integrate their advanced learning into their daily work. With the focus groups, I look forward to hearing from practitioners about which topics of study would enhance their work and which specialties they would like to share with others by teaching courses through the New Stillpoint Center.” Focus groups will be held March 18-20 at the AMTA conference in Framingham, on March 31 in Greenfield, April 26 in Northampton, and May 10 in Amherst.

Heather Neal graduated from Stillpoint/GCC in 2000 and has been a member of the faculty since 2007, teaching myology, kinesiology, and pathology. She has a private practice in Northampton. Neal said, “I’m one of many massage therapists in New England eager for advanced education and unable to travel long distances to study. The New Stillpoint Center’s courses are affordable, local, and geared toward the needs of a wide range of professional bodyworkers.”

Jan Luzzi, a Stillpoint faculty member since 1992, said “We are leading the way in helping professional bodyworkers continue lifelong learning that will be powerful for them in their work. Many colleagues tell me they welcome a center in their community where they can expand their skill base and discuss their work and the challenges of this profession. Our students and graduates are committed to being their best as massage therapists and health care providers. As a practicing massage therapist since 1989, I know bodywork professionals want to grow and learn in their trade. The New Stillpoint Center will fill that need.”

Bob Barba, GCC’s Dean for Community Education, said, “Community Education’s mission is to bring quality professional and personal development to area residents at an affordable price. Often we partner with long-standing GCC academic departments to take advantage of their reputation and extensive knowledge of their field. Having the opportunity to build an entire program on the shoulders of the Stillpoint Program is the best of all possible worlds.”

Interested in participating in a focus group and getting information about the New Stillpoint Center? Contact Patricia Wachter at or 413-775-1634.

To register for New Stillpoint Center courses, visit GCC’s Community Education website at

by Mary McClintock, ’82