Featured School: Bancroft School of Massage

We are starting a new series here at Animal Wellness Guide – Featured Schools. I have invited several schools to participate, and first out is my own alma mater, Bancroft School of Massage in Worcester, MA.

I was in one of the first classes to graduate from their small animal massage certification program, and while these days animal massage is becoming a Bancroft School of Massage: Mac And I on TVmore well known and accepted form of health care, when I was attending Bancroft, it was considered so unusual that the Today Show came and filmed us and did a piece on the school!

It was with great sadness that I parted with both Bancroft and my class mates. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and as someone who didn’t have any prior health care training (apart from a year in pre-med when I was much younger), felt that I got a thorough education and understanding for how the canine body works.

The 200-hour program, which I attended, included extensive massage training, anatomy, behavior, biomechanics and gait analysis, energy healing, First Aid/CPR, passive exercises, business and marketing, and more. We also each did an internship while still attending Bancroft, which I thought was enormously helpful, since you got to experience firsthand what your post-graduation life would be like while you still had your teachers to ask about any issues that came up.

I would absolutely recommend Bancroft to anyone considering a career in animal massage – you get a solid education taught by experienced teachers passionate about massage, classmates that become friends for life, and all the support you could wish for.

Theresa Gagnon, Director of the Animal Program at Bancroft (and also one of the teachers), sent me this historical overview of the school:

Bancroft School of Massage – Then & Now

Bancroft School of Massage Therapy was established by Henry LaFleur in 1950. As proprietor of the Bancroft Health Center, a facility specializing in Swedish Massage and Sports Massage since 1938, Henry recognized the need to train students in massage therapy in order to meet public demand for professionals, as well as to ensure the consumer of qualified therapists. He purchased the George School of Massage (Boston, MA), moved it to Worcester, and changed the name to the Bancroft School of Massage. Henry taught evening classes at the health center for many years, and over time, both his students and his philosophy spread throughout the country.

In April 1980, Steven Tankanow, a student apprentice and friend of Henry’s, purchased the health center and the school, allowing Henry to devote all of his time to teaching. Under Steve’s guidance, the school was moved to modern quarters in the same building, and the name was changed to Bancroft School of Massage Therapy, incorporated in November 1981.

Steve then began work on achieving academic recognition for the school, and for the Massage Therapy profession as a whole. In November 1985, Bancroft School of Massage Therapy became the first massage therapy school to be licensed by the Department of Education–Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an allied health school offering training in Massage Therapy. Bancroft became nationally accredited in 1986 through NATTS, which became the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology that is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Bancroft maintains accreditation through the ACCSCT. In 1996, the school purchased its own building and designed a training facility specific to the needs of massage therapy training.

The school now occupies over 18,000 square feet of space comprising of offices, store, clinic, library, lecture rooms, massage training rooms, student lounge, student locker area, dressing rooms, shower areas and private student entrance.

Dog massageIn September of 2003, a groundbreaking even took place: Bancroft accepted the first class of Small Animal Massage Therapists. The school took what it already knew how to do, teach massage, and brought it to the animal world. Many dogs and cats, and even a pot bellied pig, have come through the doors of Doggone U, the animal training facility. Bancroft continues the tradition of providing first class massage therapy training to individuals that have a calling to work with animals.

In the fall of 2007, Bancroft opened its doors to even more animals, this time horses. Right here horsemassagein our Worcester, MA facility – in the heart of the city – there are now 4 horse stalls as well. All under one roof, Bancroft School of Massage Therapy offers top rate massage training to students that want to learn the art of massage – regardless of which species they want to work with. BSMT is an equal opportunity educational facility – humans, horses, dogs, cats. Only time will tell in what direction Bancroft will go next to spread the art of massage.

Cattie Coyle

Cattie Coyle

Founder and Editor at Animal Wellness Guide
Cattie is the founder and editor of Animal Wellness Guide. She is a freelance photographer, graduate of Bancroft School of Massage Therapy’s small animal program, and has studied Applied Zoopharmacognosy. Learn more about Cattie
Cattie Coyle
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