May 4, 2023

Bree Poulin had a clear vision of her future when she enrolled in the massage therapy certificate program at Great Bay Community College in 2012.

Great Bay delivered on her dreams.

“I went in knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I was seeking out a place to study massage therapy specifically, and I liked what Great Bay offered from the start. I went to orientation, learned about the program, and decided to enroll.”

A licensed massage therapist, Poulin is the studio manager of Elements Massage in Portsmouth, N.H., and Director of Communications for Elements Massage locations in Nashua, Salem, Portsmouth, and Bedford, N.H., and Newburyport, Mass. She joined the company in 2014 as a full-time therapist and worked her way up “so I am now leading my entire team of professionals,” she said.

Great Bay factored heavily into her success. As a student at Great Bay, she fully immersed herself into the curriculum, learning a variety of techniques and developing strong relationships with her professors. She appreciated Great Bay’s small class sizes, which enabled individual attention from her professors.

“And with massage therapy, that is very important,” said Poulin, who began working in the industry upon graduation in 2013. “I learned about a wide variety of techniques, and I learned about a lot of different aspects of the industry.”

Massage Therapy is integral to conventional healthcare, complementary healthcare, and alternative healthcare environments. Massage therapy is used in sports medicine, physical therapy, hospital settings, physicians’ offices, as well as in chiropractic offices, spa and resort settings, gyms, studio team settings, and acupuncture clinics.

Great Bay’s one-year certificate program complements the Spa and Wellness Management Certificate, offering students the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to transition into management positions in the spa and wellness industry.

Poulin worked for a year in the spa industry before finding her home and purpose with Elements Massage. Because of her relationship with Great Bay, she regularly hires graduates, who often join Elements Massage as interns while in school.

The field of massage therapy is thriving, she said. Because of the stress of the pandemic, many people are seeking massage therapy as an integral component of their healthcare and well-being routines she said. As a result, there are abundant professional opportunities.

“When Covid happened, I was nervous about the industry and what it would mean for massage. But when we reopened, we reopened with a purpose of healing our community. The number of people who were looking forward to that human connection and that pain relief, we still cannot keep up with the demand,” she said.

“Many people have figured out that a holistic approach to wellness, with massage therapy and holistic care, is the way to go.”