The Hol(istic) Story: Dr. Jen Martinez-Bentley

Centura College Massage Therapy instructor and holistic health specialist Dr. Jen Martinez-Bentley
Dr. Jen Martinez-Bentley

Back in the good ol’ days, if you had a question, many would turn to an encyclopedia to find the answer. Now, many of us turn to Google to find those same answers. However, if you happen to have a question at Centura Chesapeake, you turn to Dr. Jen Martinez-Bentley. When it comes to massage and holistic health, Dr. Jen is both an encyclopedia and Google all in one.

Originally from the Philippines, Dr. Jen came to the United States with her family when she was 14 years old. She has had a long and storied career; however, Centura College has been a part of her story for quite some time. So long in fact that when Dr. Jen first started with the school it was still called Tidewater Tech. Dr. Jen has spent the last 14 years at Centura College, teaching everything from naturopathic medicine to massage therapy, and all the course in between.

Dr. Jen has a true passion for teaching. She chose a career in teaching so that her students can go into the healthcare field to teach others. Dr. Jen believes in this philosophy and one of her former students, Terri Phillips, is proof that it is working. Terri is now the Centura Chesapeake Massage Therapy Program Coordinator. But Terri is far from Dr. Jen’s only success story. Just the day before we sat down with Dr. Jen she had five of her current students pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx). She helps her students pass such examinations with innovation and care. Some of Dr. Jen’s teaching methods include creating puzzles to identify different muscles and incorporating computer software to help her students use their deduction skills to find the best answer to the exams. Oh! And if Dr. Jen has a bone to pick with you, it is probably because she has a full skeleton hanging around in her classroom as a teaching aid.

Dr. Jen was first introduced to holistic medicine in her childhood. Since Dr. Jen and her family lived on an island, they would grow most of their own food, and would use herbs to treat illnesses rather than go to the doctor. When they moved to the U.S., Dr. Jen’s mother opened five health-food stores which was less prominent and accepted at the time. Back then, FDA would not allow herbs to be labeled for what they treated so Dr. Jen became accustomed to educating the stores customers on the benefits of herbs and other holistic remedies. This knowledge set her up to become a natural teacher.

It wasn’t until Dr. Jen reached her 40s that she became a massage therapist. Just as Dr. Jen has watched the evolution of the holistic health industry go from taboo to mainstream, she has witnessed similar trends with the massage therapy industry. When Dr. Jen was younger, there was still a stigma associated with the practice of massage therapy. But, with the national mind-shift to more preventative care, and the education provided by teachers like Dr. Jen and schools like Centura College, massage therapy is becoming more widely accepted and understood.

Dr. Jen highlights the benefits of massage therapy in everything from self-care, to keeping your immune system strong, to numerous benefits for the elderly. She was even part of a group of naturopaths, body workers, acupuncturists, and nutritionists, who focused on travelling to the elderly to help them with various ails. She found herself specializing in reflexology with many of these clients, as through the feet, the whole body can be worked on. Dr. Jen also pointed out that Baby Boomers are currently the biggest generation alive, and are the largest consumer of medical products, including natural health.

With her vast knowledge and dedication to teaching the next generation of students, Dr. Jen is  a source of pride for Centura College and the team at the Chesapeake campus. Her grounded nature and endless amount of knowledge help our students succeed and we are lucky to have her among our ranks. So, the next time you have a question about holistic health or massage therapy, before turning to Google, instead, consider stopping by Centura Chesapeake and ask for Dr. Jen instead.

About Centura College

Centura College has been part of an organization dedicated to helping men and women develop careers since 1969. By training working adults in healthcare, technology, business, and trades, they connect communities with some of the fastest growing career fields in today’s marketplace. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). To learn more, visit or like them on Facebook at

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