Massage Therapy Course Descriptions
Prerequisites are listed for the courses that require previously acquired knowledge and/or skills.
ANATOMY – 100 Hours
Students study the structure and movement of the human body in both lecture and laboratory settings. Kinesiology is included, focusing on the physics of movement and clinical and scientific application of principles related to joints, bones and movement. During the lab portion of the course, students are guided in developing their palpation skills and the ability to locate and access specific muscles, bony landmarks and ligaments.
BODY AWARENESS 1 – 30 hours
BODY AWARENESS 2 – 16 Hours
This two-semester course provides students with tools for increasing their level of awareness regarding their body, breath, and energy. Students learn and practice strategies for increasing their strength, stamina and flexibility. This course has been designed to encourage students to embrace methods for experiencing improvement in their physical, emotional, energetic and spiritual health and wellbeing.
CHAIR MASSAGE – 8 hours
Prerequisites: Swedish Massage and 30 hours of Anatomy.
This course presents contraindications, safety precautions, and hands-on techniques for performing massage on a client who is seated, either on a common chair, or on a specially designed, portable, massage chair. Included in the course are ideas for using chair massage as a clientele-building strategy.
CLASS INTEGRATION SEMINAR
Prerequisite: Personal Development
Class Integration Seminar consists of one class session conducted by the school Director and the Student Advisor. The focus is on the student’s overall experience of the program. Feedback is given and received by all present, and suggestions are made for maximizing the benefits of the program to the student.
CLIENT ASSESSMENT AND TECHNIQUE INTEGRATION – 45 hours
Prerequisites: Swedish Massage, Myofascial Release, Neuromuscular Therapy and Trigger Point Massage, Anatomy, Physiology/Pathology.
This course is the final hands on course in the program. Just prior to graduation, students are guided in combining the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the program. Using critical thinking to assess each client, students articulate a clear description of the probable condition of specific soft tissues, and select and skillfully apply the techniques that are likely to be most effective for the particular client.
ENERGETICS – 30 Hours
Prerequisite: Swedish Massage Therapy.
This course provides students with an introduction to energy medicine. Students learn about, experience and practice a variety of basic energy techniques that can be incorporated into massage therapy treatments.
HYDROTHERAPY – 10 hours
Hydrotherapy presents the use of hot and cold therapies. Students learn the physiological effects of and indications and contraindications for hot packs, ice packs, ice massage and specialty baths. The course also includes a brief introduction to the use of hot and cold stones.
KINESIOLOGY – 30 hours
Prerequisites: Anatomy, Swedish Massage
This course combines lecture and hands-on experience to provide students with an understanding of the body in motion. Topics include: body positions and movements; body mechanics; basic principles of physics such as force, lines of force, thrust, etc.; agonists, antagonists, synergists and length/tension relationships ; active passive, assisted and resisitive range of motion; and posture and symmetry.
MULTI-DIMENSIONAL TOUCH – 60 Hours
Prerequisites: Personal Development, Anatomy and Physiology/Pathology.
This course teaches students how to accurately define and describe the layers of connections in the body, mind, energy and spirit. The core principles of Mindfulness, Presence, Holism, Intuition, Intention and Embodiment are actively explored.
Important Note Regarding Body Mechanics: Instruction on body mechanics is included in every hands-on course. Students learn how to use their bodies properly when performing each massage therapy technique at a massage table. Emphasis is placed on sound principles for body mechanics, both to prevent injury to the massage therapist and to increase the comfort and effectiveness of the techniques as experienced by the client. Students learn to correct their own posture and body mechanics, developing good habits to support their longevity in the profession. Additionally, the first and second semester courses in Body Awareness present topics that support students in developing and maintaining proper body mechanics.
MYOFASCIAL RELEASE – 63 Hours
Students learn about the fascial system, fascial strain and fascial restrictions. Skills include postural assessment and the application of sustained pressure and movement into the fascial system.
NEUROMUSCULAR THERAPY AND TRIGGER POINT MASSAGE – 60 hours
Prerequisites: Swedish Massage, 40 hours of Anatomy, and 30 hours of Physiology/Pathology.
Students learn the theory of re-education of the neuromuscular system, including: characteristics and perpetuating factors of trigger points; guidelines for treatment, palpation and compression treatment; and the design of effective client treatment plans.
NUTRITION – 10 hours
This course presents a brief overview of the effects of healthy and unhealthy nutrition on the soft tissues and other components of the body, and information on vitamins, minerals, deficiencies, diets, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, filtered water, organic foods, and the effects of alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Students learn about making healthy choices for themselves as well as giving basic nutritional information to clients.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT 1 – 20 Hours
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT 2 – 24 Hours
This two-semester course combines philosophical exploration and personal growth experiences with the study of communications and the client-therapist relationship. Students consciously focus on self-awareness, self esteem and personal beliefs, to guide them in becoming compassionate, interpersonally skillful massage therapists.
PHYSIOLOGY/PATHOLOGY 1 – 49 Hours
PHYSIOLOGY/PATHOLOGY 2 – 40 Hours
This course presents the functions of the following systems of the human body: cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, digestive, lymphatic and immune, integumentary, musculoskeletal, nervous, urinary and reproductive. Cell chemistry, tissues and homeostasis are studied in the context of normal, healthy functioning as well as numerous conditions and illnesses. Definitions, causes, symptoms, and treatment of various forms of dysfunction and disease processes are presented. Emphasis is on conditions that massage therapists need to recognize as contraindications to massage therapy.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT – 59 Hours
Prerequisite: Swedish Massage.
This course presents information that students need in order to achieve long-term career success in the field of massage therapy. As students learn the various strategies for building a successful practice and obtaining employment, they complete an individualized, specific, realistic plan to guide them in achieving their professional goals. This course also includes the principles of ethics, how to resolve ethical dilemmas and strategies for consistently displaying confidence, respect and other components of professional behavior.
RESEARCH – 30 hours
Prerequisites: Swedish Massage, Anatomy, Personal Development 1
This course teaches students about research studies that have been conducted regarding the physiological, psychological and spiritual benefits of massage therapy. Students learn how to use online and hard copy resources to locate articles, how to review and critique the methodologies of the researchers, and how to use the information to educate clients. Students learn how to use their research skills to communicate with health care practitioners about the evidence for using massage for particular conditions. All of this knowledge is used to conduct a small research project in the Student Clinic.
SPORTS MASSAGE – 48 Hours
Prerequisites: Physiology/Pathology, and Neuromuscular Therapy and Trigger Point Massage.
This course presents techniques for pre- and post-event massage therapy for competitive athletes, as well as methods for helping all active clients maximize their fitness activities by avoiding injuries and receiving prompt assessment and treatment of soreness, fatigue, and injury of muscle tissue.
STUDENT CLINIC – 94 Hours
Prerequisites: Swedish Massage Therapy, Anatomy, Body Awareness 1, Physiology/Pathology 1, and Personal Development 1.
The Student Clinic course begins with an orientation to clinic policies and procedures, preparing students to successfully participate in this component of the program. Students develop their skills for creating and completing client records. Students learn proper use of medical terminology and abbreviations, how to take a client’s medical history, and client case management.
On Student Clinic days, students perform massage therapy sessions with members of the public. The Clinic Supervisor provides support, instruction, feedback, and evaluation of the student’s work. Students also receive oral and written feedback from each client. Students learn how to provide massage therapy to clients with conditions that they are likely to encounter in their practices. The Student Clinic Supervisor assists students in tailoring their client interviews and treatment plans to elicit information that will enable them to provide particularly effective techniques for each client. The Student Clinic experience includes time spent in the school’s main office performing tasks such as placing reminder phone calls to clients, accepting client fees, and booking appointments.
On a day following each Student Clinic day, students attend a de-briefing session with the Student Clinic Supervisor. On Clinic days, students must focus on their individual experiences with their clients. The de-briefing session gives the students and Supervisor time to discuss and learn from the experiences of all of the students in the class.
Student Clinic gives students the opportunity to integrate the skills and knowledge gained in the classroom, thereby achieving an increase in confidence and an enhanced ability to manage the entire massage therapist/client experience. The Clinic Supervisor provides advice and assistance for making a successful transition from student to professional massage therapist.
SURVEY OF COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES – 10 Hours
This course provides students with an overview of the evolution of complementary and integrative health care, emphasizing the role of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Students learn about various forms of health care that they may want to use and to which they may refer clients.
SWEDISH MASSAGE – 100 Hours
In the first hands-on course, students learn the history and benefits of massage, contraindications and how to perform traditional Swedish massage strokes that can be combined to artfully perform a deeply relaxing or invigorating massage. Students focus on the quality of their touch, assessing the condition of soft tissues, and performing a smooth, well-paced, thorough massage that is suited to the needs of the client.
THEORY OF ASIAN MEDICINE AND ASIAN BODYWORK TECHNIQUES – 60 Hours
Prerequisites: 50 hours of Anatomy, 50 hours of Physiology/Pathology.
This course presents concepts such as balance and harmony, energy flow and stagnation, and the effects of the elements, seasons and times of the day on various body systems. Students learn Asian-based techniques that can be incorporated into massage therapy sessions.
NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION
All students are required to attend an orientation session that takes place before the first day of classes. The Session is from one to five full days in length. Orientation dates and times are announced to new students when they are notified of their acceptance to the program.
Students will perform 3 Feedback Sessions with approved practice clients who in most cases will be Health Works Institute instructors. These focused, one-on-one sessions are designed to allow for direct, specific and valuable feedback. Students are required to participate in a tutoring session whenever a skill evaluated during a feedback session is below the minimum level of competency.