History of Bancroft

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your interest in the Bancroft School of Massage Therapy, Inc.  Different cultures have valued the aid of massage for thousands of years, but it was not until the early 1800's when Per Henrik Ling developed the therapeutic system known as Swedish Massage, that massage became popular in the West.  Since that time, Swedish Massage has become one of the most widely accepted forms of massage in the world today.  At Bancroft School of Massage Therapy, we take great pride in being one of the oldest and most active schools in the training of professional massage practitioners.

Massage is a very natural form of complementary medicine with a wide range of practical benefits.  It is known to promote relaxation, improve blood circulation, relieve muscle pain, tension, and fatigue, relieve stiffness and improve mobility, and, in general, promote good health and a feeling of well-being.

The holistic health movement has regenerated an interest in massage as an important tool in preventative medicine.  As a result, there is a growing need for professionally trained massage therapists in this field.  In our program, we prepare students to be skilled massage practitioners and play a significant role in the wellness movement.  Success in this allied health profession requires an individual who is dedicated to working with the public and who enjoys close communication with people.

Bancroft School of Massage Therapy was established by Henry LaFleur in 1950.  As proprietor of the Bancroft Health Center, a facility specializing in Swedish Massage and Sports Massage since 1938, Henry recognized the need to train students in massage in order to meet public demand for professionals, as well as to ensure the consumer of qualified therapists.  He purchased the George School of Massage (Boston, Mass), moved it to Worcester, and changed the name to the Bancroft School of Massage.  Henry taught evening classes at the health center for many years; over time, both his students and his philosophy spread throughout the country.

In April 1980, Steven Tankanow, a student apprentice and friend of Henry's, purchased the health center and the school, allowing Henry to devote all of his time to teaching.  Under Steve's guidance, the school was moved to modern quarters in the same building, and the name was changed to Bancroft School of Massage Therapy, incorporated in November 1981.

Steve then began work on achieving academic recognition for the school, and for the massage profession as a whole.  In November 1985, Bancroft School of Massage Therapy became the first "massage therapy" school to be licensed by the Department of Education--Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an allied health school offering training in Massage Therapy.  Bancroft became nationally accredited in 1986 through NATTS, which became the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology that is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.  Bancroft maintains accreditation through the ACCSCT.

In 1996, the school purchased its own building and designed a training facility specific to the needs of massage therapy training.  

In February 2002, Bancroft signed an alliance with Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) to give interested grads an opportunity to apply their earned credits from Bancroft towards completion of the Complementary Health Associate Degree program at QCC.

In September 2003, Steven Tankanow founded Doggone U, LLC and accepted the first class of Small Animal Massage Practitioners. We took what we already knew how to do, teach massage, and brought it to the animal world. We have had many dogs and cats come through the doors of our animal training facility, and even a pot bellied pig. We will continue the tradition of providing first class massage training to individuals that have a calling to work with animals. In September of 2007, we added horses to our curriculum. We partner with local barns to provide a location for hands-on training.

Throughout our history, our philosophy has remained the same:  uncompromising dedication to training professional massage practitioners.  We strongly believe that in order to be a successful school we must continue to have a mission that is career oriented, have practicing faculty in the massage field, be keenly interested in student satisfaction, have innovative internships, have effective advising and career development support, have institutional self assessment, and continuing education.  Our entire staff creates a learning environment that is caring, supportive, intuitive, compassionate and understanding with a sincere interest in student success.  The school, its administration, and faculty have steadily grown and developed to become well-established in this dynamic wellness field.