European Medical School Of Massage  of Reading PA

Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 12:01 AMreading photo

Medical massage school to open in Spring Township

By Matthew Nojiri

Reading Eagle: Tim Leedy | Dorel Lacatus

For Dorel Lacatus, this is a period of transition and the start of a dream.

Since he was 16, Lacatus has been captivated by the power of medical massage, how it can help patients dealing with an array of injuries, and anything from cancer to back pain.This summer, the 46-year-old sold his West Lawn business, European Medical Massage & Spa, after nearly 15 years in business. Now, he’s hoping to use the skills he’s learned in his native Romania and during his career in Berks to teach others.”I saw in 15 years having this business in Berks County, healing thousands of people, I saw the trust people gained in my expertise,” he said. “It was very rewarding having that.”In November, Lacatus received final approval from the state Department of Education to open his school, the European Medical School of Massage in Spring Township. He said the school will place a strong emphasis on the medical component of massage, something that is often overlooked in the U.S. but is a staple in European health care.”In 1999, when I opened the spa, it was that perception of massage was just about relaxation,” he said. “But I’ve worked extremely hard for 15 years to change the landscape of massage and to educate the public that massage is more than just relaxation. It is another way of healing.”Now, he’s preparing for the first round of students when classes begin in February. He’s providing continuing education for practicing massage therapists, as well.Lacatus talked about his career in massage and his hope for his new school. Those interested in checking it out can attend an open house on Saturday and Sunday at the office, 2913 Windmill Road, Suite 12.

How’d you get involved with medical massage?

For Lacatus, the passion for massage and its power to heal dates back to his teenage years in Romania. He said in Romania and other European countries, massage is embedded in the culture of health care.”I remember I was 16 and visiting my uncle,” Lacatus said. “He had a clinic, and he’s a doctor in kinesiology. I was so surprised when I was waiting for him outside. People would be bent over 90 degrees because of the pain, and they would come out walking with no pain. I was so impressed by that. That’s how I decided to become a doctor in kinesiology.”He said when he arrived in Berks there was a strong perception that massage was just about going to the spa for some beauty rest and relaxation, but it has the potential for so much more.”There are different ways besides the Western medicine,” he said. “To be able to fix a sciatic pain within 15 minutes, that’s a miracle.

“What’s medical massage all about?

Lacatus said his school places a strong emphasis on the different aspects of medical massage. He said the techniques can help a wide range of people, from athletes and chronic pain sufferers to the pregnant and geriatric populations.To really heal someone, he said, you have to understand the biomechanical principles of movement and when to apply the different techniques, whether it’s deep tissue, trigger point or stretching, among many others.He said he plans to take his students on field trips to an area hospital to assist in the live dissection of a cadaver. He said knowing the body and its parts is part of the learning process.”For the massage therapist, it doesn’t matter where they work, whether it’s a spa, hair salon, chiropractor’s office,” he said. “People will come to them with pain. They need that training, that medical knowledge. Otherwise, it’s not going to work.”He said he has seen cases where therapists caused injuries because they didn’t know how to treat their patients’ injuries.”It’s because they are not trained really in the medical field of massage,” he said. “When someone comes with an injury, they don’t know how to approach it. They are training in basic therapeutic massage.”The school includes 700 hours of coursework and prepares its students for the necessary licensing exam to work in the field. It will also include career placement and externship opportunities at area offices, Lacatus said.

What’s your ultimate hope for the school?

Lacatus has big dreams for the future.”I’m trying to inspire students with the same love and passion about healing people that I have,” he said.He said he plans to turn the school into something bigger, and that the office in Spring Township is the beginning of that dream.”As far as the future of the business, what we’re trying to do is open within five to 10 years, another five or six locations across Pennsylvania,” he said. “This is just the start. Eventually, across the country, I want to change the landscape of massage and physiotherapy. That’s the ultimate goal.”Contact Matthew Nojiri: 610-371-5062 or

Where: 2913 Windmill Road, Suite 12, Spring Township.

For more information: Visit or call 610-670-6100.