Manhattan Health Education School - Swedish Institute - New York, NY

Swedish Institute Massage Therapy Graduate Blends Martial Arts with Holistic Wellness

Tiffany Duncan Photo - Swedish Institute - New York, NY

Six years ago, martial arts met massage therapy when Tiffany Duncan, a black belt in Taekwondo decided to explore a new career path as a massage therapist at Swedish Institute.

Searching for a new career

Growing up in Queens, NY, Duncan thrived in the fields of science and math, but her passion was in the Eastern martial art of Taekwondo. Duncan studied the art form for 10 years and earned her black belt at the age of 17. After high school, she attended college for a short time but knew she needed a new direction. She never thought that in a few years that she will be continuing her education with massage therapy.

Eastern training meets holistic career

They say, “mothers know best” and in Duncan’s case this notion rang true. “My mother convinced me I should pursue a career as a massage therapist,” Duncan explained. “She knew me better than I knew myself and said the physical practice of touch and hands-on application would be the perfect fit for me. She was right.” Duncan explained how the discipline and grounding principles of Taekwondo were in line with the strong body mechanics needed to be an effective massage therapist. “I didn’t see myself working in this field,” Duncan said. “It was a leap of faith that continues to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”

Her time at Swedish Institute

In 2012, Duncan enrolled in the Massage Therapy program at Swedish Institute. She embraced the program with excitement and said the in-depth curriculum gave her a fresh approach and perspective to holistic wellness. “The program prepares you with a solid foundation to build a successful career,” she said. During her time at Swedish Institute, Duncan gave birth to her daughter, Camille, and graduated one year later in the fall of 2014.  She worked at a spa for a short time until she discovered Zeel, an on-demand massage network where she’s worked for the past three years. “Working for Zeel has changed my life and the way I view the field of massage therapy,” Duncan said. She explains how working for Zeel gives her the flexibility to make her own schedule and offers the perfect home/work balance. But Duncan needed something to stand out, so she decided to continue her massage therapy education.

Continuing education at Swedish Institute

Over the past three years, Duncan has conducted about 1,000 massage sessions with clients across the New York metropolitan area. After the experiencing of serving the many massage therapy needs of her clients, she realized she needed to up her game and expand her services. Last year, Duncan returned to Swedish Institute and enrolled in their Continuing Education program where she earned her prenatal massage certification. And, this past February, she graduated from Swedish Institute’s Yoga Teaching Training program as a certified yoga instructor. “The continuing education program covers a wide range of specialized areas in the field,” Duncan said. “It’s a great way to keep up with clients’ needs while nurturing our own education and skills.”

Expecting an exciting future

It’s no coincidence that Duncan is certified in prenatal massage. She is expecting her second child in December and said she couldn’t be more excited about her future. “Life brings us full circle,” she said. “My mom was there to guide me in my life and now my career as a massage therapist is helping me earn my way to support my growing family with the flexibility and job security I need to make it all happen.”