Our teaching team is enthusiastic, talented, and dedicated to the practice of oncology massage therapy. Each brings unique gifts to the classroom, but they work as a team and share many common qualities: They are approachable and friendly; they have years of clinical experience; they are thoughtful, unassuming leaders. They have committed themselves to their students, the curriculum, and the long view of massage practice within integrative health care.
Without exception, our teachers earn warm reviews from appreciative students. It is a treat to share clinic and classroom time with them.
Cindy Gillan has maintained a private practice in massage therapy since 1993, focusing on oncology massage therapy, massage for older adults, and working with athletes. Her work with people with cancer includes 5 years of providing massage therapy at the Zakim Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Cindy holds a master’s degree in health care administration, and received her massage therapy diploma from the Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge, MA. Her research experience includes a pilot and subsequent NIH-funded phase 2 project focused on massage therapy for people with metastatic cancer, based at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center. Prior to that, she served as a massage therapist for a project on low back pain conducted by Harvard Medical School’s Osher Institute.
Cindy loves teaching, and brings her steady presence and sense of humor to each classroom experience. She taught for 15 years in the Muscular Therapy Institute basic program, including one year in an oncology massage therapy internship program at Boston Medical Center. She has taught oncology massage therapy with Tracy Walton & Associates since 2008.
An avid cyclist and runner, Cindy is a regular rider and volunteer for the Pan-Mass Challenge, an annual fundraiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Cindy did a great job with clinics and presentation, was relaxed and joyful. She had great stories that related to MT and individuals with cancer.”
— Karen P., Eau Claire, WI
Nanci Newton is a 1998 graduate of the Muscular Therapy Institute, and taught as an adjunct faculty member at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, Massachusetts. She has taught with Tracy Walton & Associates since 2005.
Nanci has maintained a full time practice since 1998 with her team of therapists at her award-winning company, The Healing ZONE Therapeutic Massage in Hadley, Massachusetts. They provide oncology massage therapy for caregivers and patients through the Cancer Connection in Northampton, Massachusetts.
In 2014, Nanci was named one of “The 100” honored by Massachusetts General Hospital who have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the fight against cancer. Her oncology massage therapy work was featured in Thrive magazine. She was an invited speaker at the 2016 and 2018 Oncology Massage Healing Summits in Minneapolis.
Annually, Nanci organizes oncology massage therapy volunteers for the annual Pan Mass Challenge fundraiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She is a musician, juggler and dedicated just-for-fun runner in many annual fundraising events, from 5K races to half marathons.
Nanci was fun, detailed and so spunky, she made learning enjoyable!!”
— Kristi Carrier, Blue Ridge, GA
Michelle Shields began her massage therapy career in private practice in 2003, upon graduating from the Muscular Therapy Institute. In 2012, she completed the Boston Medical Center Oncology Massage Internship program.
Throughout her career, Michelle has focused her practice on people with cancer histories, caregivers, and people seeking help with general stress relief. She worked for 3 years at the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, a-not-for profit organization providing massage therapy to people undergoing cancer treatment. She has volunteered at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Michelle currently works at the Massachusetts General Cancer Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, in Newton, Massachusetts. She has taught with Tracy Walton & Associates since 2015.
In her spare time, Michelle enjoys skiing and coaching her daughters’ softball teams.
I loved listening to Michelle. She had a very calm way about her. Her delivery of knowledge was wonderful.”
— Dianne Voikos, RN, LMT
Erika Slocum is a graduate of the Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge, MA (2005). She completed the Boston Medical Center oncology massage therapy internship in 2011. That year, she began teaching with Tracy Walton & Associates.
Erika works part-time as a massage therapist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She also maintains a private practice in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she and her business partner employ four other massage therapists. Their specialties are oncology massage, prenatal massage, and orthopedic techniques. A dedicated massage therapist and former event planner, she organized, recruited, and supported students and staff in our oncology massage workshops and clinics for nearly five years. She has been an invited speaker at the 2016 and 2018 Oncology Massage Healing Summits in Minneapolis. Read more about Erika’s work in our blog interview.
Erika brings a bachelor’s degree in communications, a long history as a dancer, and a passion for massage and massage education to her teaching and her hands-on work. When she is not working, she loves traveling and caring for her growing family.
Erika is a natural educator. Informative, funny, and very real about the hard parts of working w/people who have or have had cancer.”
— Brandi Miss, Kitty Hawk, NC
Kim Turk leads the massage therapy team at Duke Integrative Medicine and Duke Health and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina. She began working at Duke as a massage therapist in 1999, where she also provided patient education. From 2012 to 2015, when Duke Integrative Medicine was awarded an NIH-funded, multi-site research project on massage therapy and osteoarthritis of the knee, she served as lead therapist at the Duke site.
After graduating from the Body Therapy Institute in Siler City, NC in 1998, Kim began her private practice. Prior to that, she worked in hospice as a bereavement educator and coordinator of volunteers. She has taught with Tracy Walton & Associates since 2014.
Kim has served on the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy since 2015, where she is currently the Vice Chair.
Kim spends much of her free time woodworking. She has studied it seriously since 2010, making bowls, 3 legged stools, pens and spoons. She considers it meditation in motion.
Kim has such a wonderful, thoughtful way of delivering information – humble, peaceful, kind but deeply knowledgeable.”
— Kristen Flynn, Great Barrington, MA
Tracy Walton is a researcher, writer, award-winning educator, and specialist in massage therapy and cancer care. A dynamic voice for the power of touch, she is the author of the pathology textbook, Medical Conditions and Massage Therapy: A Decision Tree Approach, (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011). Read Tracy Walton’s full biography.
Reviews of Our Teachers
“Thanks for your passion, sensitivity and humor. I felt like I was always hanging on your every word. You are extremely articulate and a gifted story teller.”
— Denise Sullivan,
“Amazing! I would follow you across the country to learn from you! Thank you for your knowledge!!”
— Christine LaLonde,
“Thank you for your wisdom and willingness – I feel so very lucky & blessed to have learned from All of you!”
— Lisa Gallauresi,
“Loved everyone’s general supporting, loving attitudes”
— Kristina S.,
“Every one of these ladies is extremely knowledgable, helpful and caring. I am blessed to have had them as instructors. All have such loving hands!”
— Renee Langdon,
“All three of you were helpful, easy to understand, able to communicate info in a clear, concise manner, approachable, passionate about your work – fun to work with. Thank you!”
— Jo Bunny,
“You are all very thorough. I loved the course. Thank you! Tracy – impressed by all you have accomplished. You’re amazing.; Nanci – your sense of humor helps break any nervous tension or anxiety! Cindy – very patient and understanding.”
— Erin K.,
Bel Air, MD
“I know Nancy and Cindy are very different people with different styles and BOTH were very reassuring, had excellent life examples to share, both so lovely and NICE.”
— Hillary K.,
West Hartford, CT
“Tracy has a very thorough knowledge of material, presents clearly and honestly. Creates open space for students to share ideas. Erika has an excellent knowledge base. Brings a joyousness to the class room that is needed when discussing materials that can be depressing.”
— Matthew Steere,
Chapel Hill, NC
“All teachers were very good, really enfold the class.”
— Gaby Wegner,
Spring Hill, FL
“I thoroughly enjoyed the learning atmosphere.”
— Nancy Keeney Smith,