About Cumberland Institute


Who We Are

Cumberland Institute opened in 1987, making it the oldest school teaching holistic therapeutic massage in the state of Tennessee.

With a reputation for excellent training in a broad spectrum of bodywork modalities, Cumberland graduates are avidly recruited by the top spas, medical and chiropractic clinics, and rehabilitation centers in the region, though most of our graduates choose to eventually establish a private practice.

Cumberland Institute has an excellent faculty and its rigorous academic and technical massage therapy training has given our graduates a very high pass rate for the state licensure exam.

Graduates applying for Tennessee state licensure are required to pass the state approved exam currently administered by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards called the MBLEx. But more important is Cumberland’s 99% success rate, an indicator of how many graduates go on to establish a career in massage within one year of graduation.

Cumberland Instructors

Although academic excellence and diversified technical training are central to the educational mission, most students will probably tell you it is the caring emphasis on developing each individual student which really makes the Cumberland experience special. Starting with their first courses and continuing throughout the training, students are encouraged to learn about themselves as they learn about massage therapy. They are guided to develop healthy balance in their work, financial and personal lives. Students’ unique gifts and interests are nurtured, with the aim of helping them ​develop a specialized career focus and their own unique niche in the marketplace.

Massage therapy is rapidly growing in acceptance within the medical community as an effective healthcare option in wellness care, stress management, pain treatment and the rehabilitation from a wide range of illnesses and injuries.

The relaxation massage industry continues to grow in answer to the need for improved quality of life in a stressful, modern world. Cumberland Institute provides its students the knowledge, skill and confidence to pursue whatever bodywork career they desire. It also helps them understand the fundamentals of business they will need to establish a practice which supports them financially, without burning them out physically or emotionally.

Students are urged to stretch and grow beyond the limits of their fears, to build a solid foundation of ethical, professional behavior and values, and to feel the loving support of a community of mentors and peers, which will follow them into professional practice.

Holistic Emphasis

In its holistic emphasis, Cumberland training honors the sacred trust and intuition required by a vocation of “laying-on of hands,” which recognizes the multi-dimensional nature of the therapist-client interaction in bodywork. Cumberland prepares its students to bring the best of themselves to their work, with healthy and appropriate boundaries and professional behavior, which should remain within the scope of massage practice but not exclude the spiritual or the sacred from the experience.

The curriculum builds a solid foundation of scientific knowledge of the body, how it works and how Western massage therapy can be used to promote vibrant health.

At the same time, it offers complementary therapeutic tools from Acupressure, Craniosacral Therapy, Lymphatic Drainage Technique or Neuromuscular Therapy, along with a variety of other modalities to help students address the chronic pain, tension and dysfunction from which their clients seek relief.

For us, the holistic approach offers the best of both worlds: to the therapist, it offers ease and efficacy in treatment, while simultaneously offering the client increased comfort and opportunity for healing.


I couldn’t have asked for a more comprehensive education. I left feeling part of a bigger family. I gained the ability to not only take care of and nurture others but also to tend to myself with greater care and compassion. Anyone can teach you where muscles are; It takes a special human(s) to show you how to really touch someone with the intent to heal.

I’m finished with school now. I’m going back for continuing education every chance I have. I know my school and everyone in it wants the best for its’ therapists and the massage therapy profession.

Laurie K

An amazing center for learning – both how to be a holistic bodyworker and the truth of who you are.

Arlene Carter

I started classes here but had to put my path on hold due to being transferred temporarily out of state to work. I refuse to learn from anyone else but these wonderful teachers/therapist. Hoping that I can return soon so I can finish and be a Cumberland graduate.

Barb Rogers-Bolin

The classes, instructors and material are top notch! Education the way it was meant to be, a real class act!

Kelly Buddenhagen

Excellent massage education – I was taught by seasoned instructors who not only teach; they all have private practices in which they use what they teach. Continuing education classes are offered year-round and offer a full variety of various modalities!

Teresa Brandon Greene

I can’t imagine where I would be if I had chosen a different school! I am SO proud to be a Cumberland grad!

Rachael DeCosta

Wonderful school, love it…my new family 🙂

Dena Gaither

I am a graduate of Cumberland and I am always getting comments on my sense of touch. The teachers have knowledge beyond what you can learn at a typical massage school and they really reach out to help you learn through both your experience and theirs so that when you graduate you can carry knowledge and wisdom with you when you go.

Candyce Bennett

Wonderful place to take CEU’s!! Great teachers and staff!

Miley Corbin


Every member of the hands-on faculty at Cumberland Institute is a massage therapist who has mastered the modality he or she is teaching here, and has established a successful private practice in that area, as well. There is a rich and diverse background of experience each instructor brings to the curriculum and the classroom.

Cumberland instructors understand the concept of mentoring their students, and the relationships built in the classroom here often extend into post-graduate years, especially in the challenging early months of practice. The diversity of experience in the faculty ensures a variety of checks and balances to the evolution of the curriculum, and solid practical guidance for whatever bodywork field a student might choose to follow.

To put it simply, Cumberland Institute instructors love teaching and have passion for their subjects, which shows in the enthusiasm of their students for the work.

Core Faculty:

Mary Beth Crawford, LMT
Denise Gleason, LMT, CLT
Robin Green, LMT
Teresa Greene, BS, LMT
Faith Hendrix, RN, LMT
Amanda Hooten, LMT
Mary McDaniel, LMT
Andrea Mindigo, LMT
Mindy Oldham, RN, LMT
Hollie Potts, MSN, RN

Terry Scruggs, LMT
Steve Sommers, LMFT, LMT
Suzan Sommers, LMT


Academic Director:  Mary McDaniel, LMT

Administrative Director:  Teresa Greene, BS, LMT

Academic Assistants:
Kim Hibbard, LMT
Angel Lane, LMT
Bill Ott, LMT