I enrolled in IHH and was initially very pleased with their willingness to work with a rolling class schedule and demands of an adult lifestyle and schedule demands. The owner seemed passionate and delightful and the school & spa were beautiful to say the least. From there, it went rapidly and steadily down hill. Admissions seemed less than passionate and skilled, not to mention disorganized. They "require" you to have a facial performed before starting classes so I opted to have one there instead of with any other licensed etsy to get a better feel for the school. The student who performed the service was wearing slip on, open toed shoes with socks, an absolute no-no spa experience. When we got to the treatment room she asked me to remove my own make-up, handed me a towel and cut the restroom light on for me. No cleanser was available in the bathroom and when I mentioned this she asked "if I would like it in my hand or on a paper towel" Needless to say, this did not start out well. For the most part it was a nice facial and excellent foot massage....minus a good consultation, lack of communication and comfort measures being taken. It almost made up for being put on hold at least 4 times to make the appointment, being told someone would call me back and never did and being booked for the wrong spa, and the less than comfortable waiting area. I was told that I could come the next day to start class with a demonstration from one of their product lines for a chemical peel at 9 AM the next morning. A little before 9 AM I entered the school and the receptionist had no idea where the class was or that there was even a class but I was welcomed to go upstairs and see if anyone was there. No one was there, 20 minutes later another student arrived and another, finally an "instructor" then the company (who actually said they weren't scheduled until 10 AM) and another instructor that was going to be starting at the school the following month. No one met the requirements needed with the company to get the certification for the new line and no models were set up in advance for the peel to be demonstrated on or to become certified on. I felt bad for the company wasting their time and was embarrassed as a student. The "instructor" already employed by the school looked less than professional, lacked interest in the topic, and quite honestly seemed to have little to no real knowledge about the line or chemical peels and even stated that she could not attend the entire class due to having scheduled private appointments at her other place of employment. I volunteered to be a model for that same "instructor" to become certified with and her "professionalism" and technique were even worse than the student facial I received the day before. I left the class utterly frustrated and concerned about my choice in attending this school. I came home and decided to chalk it up to "everyone has an off day" and went back the next morning for another class. I arrived about 8 minutes late due to having to drive in a Nor' Easter, upon my arrival I asked the receptionist where the class was since no one thought to tell me, her reply "I don't know, you can check upstairs." I went upstairs to again find an empty room. Back down stairs the receptionist (who I'm told has "been there for years") finally guessed that the class may be going on in the room right beside her. It was. I gently knocked and entered with an apology to the same anything but warm reception from this "instructor" as I've gotten every time I entered this business. This "class" was nothing short of a gripe session from the spa housekeeper, who 10 minutes later opted for a smoke break which was about 30 minutes into the "class". I "learned" everything from how expensive it is to have towels laundered by a professional laundry service to who takes turns taking the towels home and that I'm a "kid" who it seems in the opinion there is just lucky to walk through the doors where "it's just too much to read the regulations set forth by the state but you can read them yourself if you want". This was followed by a tour (aka gripe session detailed by room) that started in the wax room where I happened to note an open box (probably cross contaminated several times) of "Great Value" corn starch while being told how nasty previous "kids" had been in that room with their less than appropriate jokes that people in the "waiting area" (5 wooden chairs along the wall outside the room) could over hear and how hard it is to get wax off the floor. Every area was cause for a new gripe session from this "instructor" including the front door turning into 15 minutes I'll never get back in my life concerning locking the front door and how much it costs every time the police come out for the security alarm. I did learn something from this, it would appear that no one imagined that you could convert the lock to something more reliable for those who can seem to understand you can't lock a deadbolt from the outside without a key. By the time we reached the second floor of the tour and the gripe session turned into complaints about complaints from customers about getting nail fungus I had met my tolerance level of this "education" and quietly excused myself down the back stairs to retrieve my belongings and withdraw from future "classes". When I finally tracked down the admissions lady she seemed a bit irritated that I had interrupted her conversation and seemed nearly as shocked as she was angry that I wanted to withdraw. I feel lucky that I had the initial experiences that I did so that I was still within the three day window to withdraw without further financial obligation. In all honesty, I had hoped for and actually expected a call regarding my withdrawal because the owner had seemed so passionate about the school and esthetics. The afternoon came and went without that call. I sent my written withdrawal letter certified with return receipt and again expected some sort of semblance of a quality control call and now several months later, still nothing. I left thinking maybe I just attended at the wrong time and maybe a portion of my disappointment stemmed from the recent move into the new building but when I found some of these reviews with what appears to be a lot of the same problems from 2010 I feel this is sadly their standard. I would not feel comfortable recommending the spa services and particularly not the education services which is literally heartbreaking because it is a beautiful set up and has enormous potential that will sadly never be met.
Overall a good school that I would recommend:
I had a wonderful experience at the IHH. They did have some organization problems while I was there, and not every teacher I had was the best ever, but as a whole the school was wonderful. I graduated a few years ago now, and I am so happy I decided to attend IHH! I have met CMT's who attended various other schools in Newport News (NN) and Virginia Beach (VB) and I have found that I had a much better education than any of them. When I was recently hired at a spa in VB I was the only therapist who was trained in pre-natal, aromatherapy, and reflexology. I thought those were basic skills that everyone learned in school. As far as I have seen since I got out of school, the IHH has a very good reputation for producing very good therapists. I also passed my test on my first try because of the education I received there. So, yes they do have some organization issues, and not every professor was amazing (however most were really great), but as a whole it's one of the best schools in all of Hampton Roads, and I think it is definitely the best school in Newport News!
Fabulous school - caring instructors:
I went to the Institute of Health & Healing and became a Certified Massage Therapist, a Licensed Master Esthetician, took the nail program and absolutely loved every minute of my school time there. The instructors are caring, with extensive real life training (25-30 years in the discipline they instruct) not just teaching a pre-programmed curriculum. The administration was second-to-none and cared about my every academic step. I had to have my classes hand scheduled due to all the different programs I took at the same time. Marvelous, wonderful, sensitive, outstanding staff. Loved my time there as a student and would not have traded it for anything in the world. I would highly recommend the Institute of Health & Healing to anyone interested in their programs of training: massage, esthetics, waxing, nails, cosmetology and yoga teacher. Proud to be a graduate!!!
A complete and utter failure of education:
While this school boasts eclectic teachers, rambunctious front desk attendants, and a somewhat rewarding mesh of unique skills through its limited curriculum, the overall performance of the school is horrendously lacking. The administration treats the students likes the whole of india treats its (previously named) untouchable class. I pity the student who is in need of advising, financial help, or simply has a basic question regarding the program because chances are there will either be no one available to help them or the people available will give them vague, condescending one liners meant to rush them away rather then assist them. Between the two massage programs offered, the basic one is sorely lacking in hours and the advanced one is a train wreck of apathetic, burned out administrators and their contacts, who will stop at nothing to inconvenience the aspiring student. As if this were not enough, the academics offered by the school are insultingly simple. Anyone with any prior college expierience should seriously reconsider attending this school simply due to the fact that they will either be bored out of thier minds or depressed beyond compare by the stark lack of intelligent discussion involved in the basic classes. The average student in attendance here is rather flat of personality and shy of mind. Don't expect anyone to brighten at an attempt at philosophical conversation, this will only brand you as the enemy of your peers. Here, independence, creative thinking, and a sharp intellect are shunned. Superficiality, service skills, and a preoccupation with money are valued traits in the students. I personally would strongly advise any prospective student to reconsider their options and choose a school other then this one. Massage therapy can be a wonderful, spiritual, and stimulating profession, but that is not what this school is offering.