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NHITA Faculty

Carol Peterson, BA, MSA, LMT

Carol Peterson, BA, MSA, LMT

Carol is Director of the school, providing administrative direction and student advisement at the Nashua campus. She is a licensed massage therapist by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and State of New Hampshire. Carol instructs Practice Fundamentals, and Integrated Techniques. In addition to being a graduate of NHITA, Carol also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maine and a Master of Science in Administration from Boston University.

"When I decided to leave the technology industry and become a massage therapist, it was very important to me that I get the best training possible. NHITA provided that and more. In addition to learning healing massage techniques, NHITA provided me with a solid foundation on the business of massage. As an instructor, I am pleased and excited to share my experiences with students as they enter this rewarding profession."

Karen Schilling, MS, LMT, RD

Karen Schilling, MS, RD

She came to massage therapy after 15 years as a CPA. After graduating from NHITA in 1995, she pursued further education in the field of nutrition and has since added RD to her credentials. In her position as Associate Director, Karen acts as an advisor to the school, involved in everything from curriculum development to management planning. Having taught every course within the curriculum she serves as a substitute instructor when called on.

"Teaching is the ultimate pursuit for me. I love to make complex subjects easy to learn through humor and play. For me watching people develop a passion for this great profession is its own reward."

Rhonda Cavers, LMT

Rhonda Cavers, LMT

Nashua Instructor: Kinesiology I & II, Swedish massage, Clinical Assessment

RJ is a New Hampshire state licensed graduate of NHITA who maintains a private practice and an associate practice with a local chiropractic office specializing in sports & trauma related injury, postural alignment, and sensory treatment for Autism. She is also a nationally certified educator of infant massage by CEIM and an internationally certified infant massage instructor by CIMI. Along with technique courses RJ also instructs in Kinesiology and Clinical Assessment.

"I couldn't possibly be more passionate about massage! The education I received attending NHITA, working and learning daily in my private practice, and working alongside a generously gifted chiropractor, have all been such rewarding experiences. It is a privilege to share my passion and experience with the students of NHITA. From the first days of Swedish, on to the exploration of muscles, ending with the last days of Clinical Assessment, it is such a joy to join in the journey and exploration of this giving profession and watch the development and evolution of each student's skills, knowledge and individual passions."

Julie A. Coffin, MA, LMT/CPMT

Julie A. Coffin, MA, LMT/CPMT

Harrison Instructor: Practice Fundamentals, Kinesiology II, Pathology & Assessment

With a background in Education and a thriving business in downtown Bridgton, Julie brings her passion for both to NHITA's Harrison campus. A 2016 NHITA graduate, she has found that assisting others with assessing, identifying and working through their pain and physical dysfunction an extremely rewarding aspect to her work. Julie is also a certified pediatric massage therapist through the Liddle Kidz Foundation, an internationally recognized leader in pediatric touch therapy. In addition to her certifications, Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science and a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology with a focus on human growth and development.

"I am forever grateful for the education and experience that NHITA has given me over the years. The rigor of the program and the incredible education provided has provided me with valuable insights and awareness that I may not have received elsewhere. Becoming a massage therapist and working with my clients to improve their movement and, in some cases, the quality of their lives, leaves me with a feeling of deep peace and joy at the end of the day."

Liz Como, BA, EMT-B, LMT, RN

Liz Como BA, LMT, RN, CLLC

Harrison Instructor: Practice Fundamentals, Ethics, Neuromuscular Technique, Research Analysis, Skin Pathology, Public Health and Hygiene, Pharmacology, Cancer and Autoimmune Disease

Liz began her teaching career in massage therapy after graduating from NHITA. She came to the school with over 20 years of experience teaching at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School. She is a graduate of Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., where she obtained a BA in English literature and secondary education, and a graduate of CMMC School of Nursing. She has also completed a Master's in Nursing at Saint Joseph's College. Her primary employment these days is as an Oncology Massage Therapist at the Dempsey Center in Lewiston, Maine. She continues to work per diem as an RN in a critical access hospital in Maine. She has worked in Obstetrics, Oncology, and Med/Surg. She continues to increase both patient and providers' access and understanding of integrative medicine.

"I think that most of my life I have been naturally drawn to teaching. As an instructor at NHITA I have the pleasure of helping new massage therapists create a picture of holistic health for future clients as well as themselves."

Christina Downs-McGuire, LMT, RMT, doTerra Wellness Advocate

Christina Downs-McGuire, LMT, RMT, doTerra Wellness Advocate

Harrison Instructor: Circulatory Massage, Lymphatic Drainage

After graduating from the NHITA program in 2006 Christina had practiced in high end spas in the state of Maine. In 2016 she opened her private practice that she has maintained since. In addition to utilizing the many techniques acquired through our program she has also added to her practice. She is a certified Reiki Master Teacher and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate (Essential Oil Education). She specializing in customizing sessions to clients' specific needs. By combining certain techniques she is better equipped to meet the needs of her clients.

"15 years of a successful career and I am still just as passionate, if not more now then when my journey began. I really enjoy having the ability to help aid in the balancing of the mind body and soul of my clients. Being a part of the NHITA teams enables me to pass this passion on to the next generation of the field"

Jeannine Foster, BA, MS, LMT

Jeannine Foster, BA, MS, LMT

Harrison Instructor: Anatomy & Physiology

Jeannine has been practicing massage since graduating from NHITA in 2003. She holds a BA from Colby College and a MS in school psychology from University of Southern Maine. Jeannine served as the website coordinator and Sports Massage Team Chair for the Maine Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). In addition to NHITA's accredited program, Jeannine has continued taking classes every year and has completed advanced training with James Waslaski, George Kousaleos, and Jeff Mahadeen. She holds certifications in Advanced Active Myofascial Mobilization and CORE massage. As a former All-American collegiate runner and cross country coach, Jeannine understands the demands an active lifestyle can put on one's body.

Janna Kucharski-Howard, PT, DPT, MSM

Jessica Kennon, LMT

Nashua Instructor: Skin Pathologies, Communicable Diseases, Cancer & Massage

Jessica graduated from the Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge, MA in 2002. She holds additional certifications in Orthopedic Massage (Muscular Therapy Institute, 2006) and Myofascial Massage (CORE Institute, 2009). Jessica draws on her continual education and over twenty years of experience to treat and educate every client to progress their whole being. Jessica has taken special interest in the treatment of: pre- and post-operative care, musculoskeletal injury, pain management, body mobility, infant/child massage, cancer patients, and full spectrum care.

"As with many who enter the massage field, I have an ardent passion for the intersection of fascinating science with compassionate care. Not only has education been a continual focus of my own progression, but it has also been an integral part of my massage treatments. I am delighted to have this opportunity to share two decades of experience and knowledge with future massage therapists."

Latasha Konopka, BA, LMT

Latasha Konopka, BA, LMT

Nashua Instructor: Hydrotherapy, Reflexology, Circulatory & Lymphatic Massage Techniques

After a long-time career in production management in publishing and advertising, Tasha took an abrupt turn to train and open the first cage-free, holistic pet-grooming salon in the state of New Hampshire.

"I utilized massage and Reiki to provide a stress-free grooming experience to special needs dogs that couldn't tolerate the typical grooming facility practices. Simultaneously, I discovered how similar bodywork applied to my then colicky infant daughter helped her with sleep and mood. Touch Therapy continues to be an integral part of my daughter's healthcare--she has since been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and Marfan's. Helping her with these conditions was my inspiration to become licensed in Massage Therapy. Best decision I ever made."

Tasha practices what she coins as neuromuscular trauma massage at her Amherst business, Tangled Limbs LLC. She specializes in a clinical approach with massage therapy to treat complaints that relate to trauma, touch aversion, Complex PTSD, ADHD, and Connective Tissue Disorders.

"NHITA changed my life's story dramatically, equipping me with the tools to help my daughter thrive; and help improve the lives of others. Every day that I work is deeply rewarding, and I feel honored to pay forward by being a part of your learning process. I look forward to witnessing your new story unfold."

Gretchen Loeffler, BS, LMT

Gretchen Loeffler, BS, LMT

Harrison Instructor: Neuromuscular Technique, Sports Massage, Health Service Management, Clinical Assessment

Gretchen has a degree in Elementary Education and pursued massage therapy as a second career. She has been with the school since 2001 after she graduated from the program. Gretchen is very creative in her teaching and utilizes experiential learning whenever possible.

"I am very excited about the education I received at NHITA. I liked the well-integrated focus on science and clinical experience as well as the very tangible aspect of the hands-on experience. I feel I am meant to be a teacher and appreciate being able to share the education I found so valuable at this school."

Kayla Looper

Kayla Looper, LMT, BS Neuroscience

Harrison Instructor: Anatomy & Physiology

Kayla is a practicing massage therapist in Kennebunk, ME and North Conway, NH. As a graduate of NHITA and the University of New England's Center of Excellence in the Neurosciences, she strives to work at the intersections of chronic pain with mental health. An enthusiastic learner, she aims to spark in students a joyous curiosity in the nuances and complexities of the human body, as well as the science used to understand it better.

"The education I received at NHITA allowed me to integrate my neuroscience background into the therapeutic massage environment I adore. I am immensely grateful to have the opportunity to help future practitioners find or further establish their passions and interests into their own, unique path in massage therapy."

Thais Charbonnet Lovering, BA, MFA, LMT

Thais Charbonnet Lovering, BA, MFA, LMT

Harrison Instructor: Neuromuscular Technique

Thais runs a private massage therapy practice in Brownfield, Maine which she started after graduating from NHITA in 2018. She is licensed in Maine and New Hampshire and is an active member of AMTA. She has accentuated her client treatment with continuing education and by working with Shellie Sakash, Physical Therapist. Thais has become fascinated with the idea of movement re-education. She is studying to get her Pilates National Certification later this year.

"I love studying and learning new things. Teaching is one of my favorite ways to be sure that I have really grasped a concept. I feel very fortunate to have been a student at NHITA. My teachers gave me everything I needed to excel in my learning. I am looking to "pay it forward" by returning as a teacher this year!"

Audrey Nelson

Audrey Nelson, LMT

Harrison Instructor: Swedish Massage, Health Service Management

Audrey is a nationally certified NHITA graduate, Reiki Teacher, and a certified Holistic Health Coach. She instructs Swedish massage, ethics, trigger point, and health service management at the Harrison location. Audrey is passionate about empowering others to be proactive in their well being. Audrey maintains an active practice in Naples where she incorporates a holistic approach that encompasses multiple modalities to best serve her clients.

"I am so grateful for my educational experience at NHITA and I am honored to be part of the faculty. I love working with students and seeing them make the connections between what they learn in anatomy and physiology and the technique courses."

Kristen O'Brien

Kristen O'Brien, COTA/L, LMT

Harrison Instructor: Hydrotherapy, Clinical Assessment

Kristen is a graduate from New York University and holds an Associates degree in Occupational Therapy. She brings 34 years of experience in this area to her private practice as a massage therapist in Maine and New Hampshire. She is Nationally Certified for her practice as a COTA and continues her specialty in NH School Systems. She is a proud graduate from NHITA and is currently an instructor for the Hydrotherapy and Clinical Assessment courses in Harrison Maine.

"I like my work to integrate my knowledge in both areas to assist individuals in the developmental or healing process."

Shannon M. Sprague, MSPT, LMT, RYT

Shannon M. Sprague, MSPT, LMT, RYT

Nashua Instructor: A&P, Nutrition, Muscle and Joint Physiology, Muscle Pathology, Cancer/Autoimmune

Shannon is a graduate of NHITA. She holds a Master's Degree in Physical Therapy from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions and has maintained both a NH license in massage therapy and MA license in physical therapy. Shannon is passionate about health, wellness and maintaining an optimal level of functioning. In addition to teaching at NHITA, she owns and manages a practice in Pelham, NH where she teaches yoga, performs Thai Yoga Massage, and Reiki Therapy while integrating all of her acquired skills and knowledge in the health and wellness industry. She is dedicated to continuing education and considers herself a lifelong learner.

"I truly believe that my role in the health and wellness industry is to provide individuals with the conditions necessary for gaining and maintaining their optimal level of well being. NHITA's comprehensive program provided me with the skills to do just that and more. I so enjoy teaching and witnessing the curiosity and growth in each and every student. Teaching a subject like Anatomy & Physiology while watching students apply their knowledge base as they develop critical thinking skills pertaining to the field of massage therapy is so rewarding!"

Julie Stillman LMT, ATC, NHLAT

Julie Stillman, BS, LMT

Nashua Instructor: Sports Massage, Trigger Point

Julie is a graduate of NHITA. She has been a professional member of the AMTA since 2012. She holds a bachelor's degree in Athletic Training from Colby-Sawyer College and has maintained a NH license for massage therapy. Julie maintains a practice in Nashua, NH that she started in 2012. She is very eager to pass along her knowledge and experience from her sports medicine background and prepare students to integrate this technique for athletic injuries and complex conditions.

"I love school and learning. We need each other to build and grow to reach our full potential to be the best therapists we can be and I am honored to be a part of that journey."

Gina Toce

Gina Toce, BA, LMT

Nashua Instructor: Neuromuscular Technique

Gina is a graduate of the NHITA program and holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Management with a concentration on Communication and Technology from Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts and is a Reiki Master Instructor. Gina became a Certified lymphedema therapist in June of 2022. She maintains a Massage license in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts and is currently practicing at a Functional Medicine Doctors office in Salem, New Hampshire. At NHITA, she instructs the Neuromuscular Technique.

"My whole life, all I have ever wanted to do was help people. I am so grateful that I received such a strong education foundation at NHITA that allows me to do exactly that, every day. Being part of the team that brings that education to the students at NHITA as they embark on a new career as a Massage Therapist is like a dream come true for me."

Otis Watson, BSE, BA, MA, LMT

Otis Watson, BSE, BA, MA, LMT

Nashua Instructor: Anatomy & Physiology I & II

Otis has been teaching for 55 years, starting as a first aid and water safety instructor for the Red Cross at age 17. He has since acquired two education degrees and training in bodywork from Massage Therapy Training Institute of Kansas City, KS. He has taught swimming to pre-schoolers, health and first aid to inmates in a South American women's prison, and physical education & computer programming at the college level. Otis has combined a massage practice and massage/anatomy education for over 30 years, often as a guest instructor in private schools and community colleges. His bodywork is oriented toward sports, injury rehabilitation, pain management, and quality of life. Over the years he has done massage for Olympic athletes, Division I college football teams, and NCAA track & field championships. He has also worked in hospitals, physical therapy clinics, and chiropractor offices - as well as maintaining a private practice.

"I am new to New Hampshire, and excited to be a part of the NHITA family. I love teaching and learning. It makes my day if a student teaches me something new. We should all be students and educators in life. Knowledge is something that needs to be nurtured, shared, examined, and continually updated."