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In good hands

S tudents in Candy Givhan’s therapeutic massage class at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College’s Opp campus are giving a whole new meaning to the term “hands –on experience,” as they begin clinicals today, using real people to hone their skills.

Givhan, who has taught the class for nearly a decade, said using live volunteers gives students a chance to practice their technique, while also helping to acclimate them to what they will encounter after graduating.

“By doing this, students are able to get a feel for different body types and different people,” Givhan said.

This year, Givhan said she has six students enrolled in the two-semester program that culminates with a final test at the end of the nine-month training session.

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“Once the two semesters are completed, they have to take a national board exam,” she said. “Once they pass that, they are licensed in Alabama.”

Givhan said her message course is the only one of its kind in this area of the state, adding that the students who complete the classes typically have a wide array of career choices in the local area.

Givhan said another option available to graduates is to become medically certified and work in a physician’s office.

Andalusia resident Nancy Alcorn is part of Givhan’s current class and said she is excited to take the next step with today’s start of clinicals.

“I’m not really nervous about it,” Alcorn said. “I came here for about two years and got massages before I decided to take the course.”

Givhan, who has been licensed for 11 years, said the demand for massage therapists is currently high.

“There is a lot of opportunity,” Givhan said. “There is actually a big demand more male therapists,because there just aren’t that many of them.”

As for locals interested in becoming a volunteer and receiving massages, Givhan said the fee is $20 and each session lasts one hour. Givhan said clinical sessions will take place Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

For information about the course, or to register as a volunteer, Givhan said people may contact her directly at (334) 493-5318.