Cosmetology school students across the country are being trained to recognize signs of domestic violence through a program called "Cut it Out."
Now, a massage therapy school in Destin has adopted and modified the program.
As NewsChannel 7's Alex Denis tells us, students are taught skills that could help rub out the abuse.
Students at the Soothing Arts Massage School in Destin look on as instructors demonstrate different methods of therapy.
But their lessons aren't just skin deep.
Part of their certification involves learning how to recognize signs of domestic abuse and learning how to handle the situation.
Massage Therapist, Rosemarie Simons, said, "If a person unloads their problems what we do we're trained to #1 listen. Sometimes they just need to talk to know there's a listening ear. If it's something serious we can refer them to the appropriate help and let them know there are alternatives out there that they don't have to stay in the situation that might not be best for them."
Massage therapist aren't trained to council clients, but the intimate massage setting often provides victims with a safe place to release their emotions.
"Therapists say the act of touch is so powerful, a massage may cause a person's body to respond in a way even the client wouldn't expect."
"What we find is that the muscles are tied up with emotions. We're taught in school that we have to be careful around the neck. Sometimes people have been strangled or hurt. So therefore emotions and memories get tied up in muscles and when you touch it they may have a flashback. So we have to work through things like that."
Not all reactions stem from abuse.
So students are instructed not to assume, but instead be good listeners.
Von Keller, Owner/Director said, "They're trained to go through a work sheet with the client, discuss past medical issues. If those things are not brought up in the intake it's best to just avoid at that point because they basically told you to and in the course of the session other issues may arise."
Instructors say they want students to respect the power of touch. A short massage can release stress and help heal old wounds.
"The level of touch a person will receive will help their healing even if they go through a bad period while they're on the table the touch is going to help them get to a better Plato of living, and life and happiness."
Instructors want to reiterate massage therapists are not trained as counselors, and discussions within a session are protected by therapist client privilege.