Detailed Course Catalog
This is a list of courses and class hours that comprise our Massage Therapy training program.
Our current curriculum totals 682 hours.
Anatomy & Physiology I
This course is designed to be a team-learning, hands-on experience in identifying, locating and palpating bones and their landmarks and muscles of the body as they relate to the practice of massage therapy. Emphasis will be placed on the origins, insertions and actions of the muscles. Terminology of direction, orientation, movement and planes of the body are utilized and applied throughout the course.
Anatomy & Physiology II
This course offers an introduction to 1) Anatomy — the structure of the body and 2) Physiology — the function and process of living things. The interrelationship of structure and function will be explored and homeostasis will be emphasized as the eleven body systems are examined. In addition, a review of electrolytes and pH, generalized cell components and the four body tissue types will be covered.
Anatomy & Physiology III
This course continues the study of anatomy and physiology with an emphasis on neuromuscular physiology, waste management and fluid balance, neurophysiology and a review of muscle structure. The emphasis of this class will be on the functional relationships of the body systems and their role in maintenance of life. This course will cover the gross anatomy of the peripheral nervous system and the innervations in the human body. Other topics covered include digestion, metabolism, nutrition, special senses, stress response and reproduction/fetal development. In addition, kinesiology will be considered with respect to structure and how form and function are interrelated and there will be an emphasis on the role that connective tissue plays in massage.
This course presents an introduction to seated massage with a focus on tailoring the massage to the environment, the time available and a large number of clients. There is a focus on body mechanics to minimize the amount of strain on the therapist’s body. Topics include the history and purpose of chair massage, health benefits, marketing, a brief anatomy review, information on how to work with clients, self care for the therapist, stretches and a step by step explanation of the routine using massage techniques that are effective and enjoyable.
Concepts of Health and Hygiene
This course is a basic introduction to the vocabulary, concepts, precautions and protocols used to
maintain professional standards in the massage therapy profession. Participants will practice wellness enhancing techniques such as stretching, yoga, meditation, breathing and movement exercises.
Ethical Business Practices for Massage Therapy
This course will introduce the student to good business procedures required to structure their
massage therapy practice. Entrepreneurship will be a focus in the course. Students will investigate,
explore and discuss the qualities, behaviors and variables that contribute to successful massage
practices. The course will also include promotion, practice building, rudimentary legal aspects and
ethical business considerations.
First Aid & CPR
The Heartsaver First Aid and CPR AED Course is designed to prepare the therapist to provide First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) use in a safe, timely and effective manner.
This course includes one four-hour Preparatory Class, as well six additional sessions of actual work in the student clinic. These times will be scheduled outside of the normal class schedule. Members of the public will be invited into the school to receive massage therapy provided by the students. Students gain a tremendous amount of confidence in their abilities by working with the public in this supervised setting. There will be an instructor available at all times to provide feedback, support and general supervision.
Introduction to Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is the study of the art, science and application of essential oils and their effect on the mind and body. This introductory course will give the student information dating from ancient Egypt to modern times, that will allow them to begin working with aromatherapy in a massage practice.
Introduction to Assessment & Kinesiology
Understanding the structural, postural and functional assessments of the physical body is a necessary part of helping each client achieve the goals of a massage therapy plan. A clear understanding of the function and structure of the musculoskeletal system is required for the therapist to ascertain the current state of the client’s condition allowing the therapist to plan and assess changes in the client’s condition.
Introduction to Hydrotherapy
This course is a clinical study in the external and internal therapeutic effects of water in all its forms. Included is basic instruction on the properties of water, local and general effects of hot and cold applications, contraindications of hydrotherapy applications and how to use water safely and effectively in the field of massage therapy.
Introduction to Shiatsu
This course is designed to provide students with a basic knowledge of Shiatsu. The first class will
introduce the theory and history of Shiatsu. Topics include a background in the history and
philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), focusing on chi, meridian theory, hara awareness,
yin/yang theory and the five transformations. The remaining three classes will consist of the practical
knowledge necessary to perform a full body Shiatsu treatment in the prone, supine and seated
Introduction to the Alexander Technique
This course will help students become more physically comfortable as they massage. The Alexander Technique principles of kinesthesia, consciously lengthening one’s spine, body mapping and improved mechanics of movement will be explored.
Through class discussions and exercises, this course identifies methods and strategies necessary to create a thriving practice. Proven methods, along with new trends, will be explored.
Medications and Massage
This course will explore commonly prescribed medications and their physiological effects.
The application of massage therapy changes the metabolism and physiology of the body in many
ways. These changes combined with the effects of medications can lead to unexpected results.
Perhaps a medication is metabolized differently which can affect the treatment goal. Medications
could mask a client’s ability to provide feedback regarding appropriate pressure.
This course is an introduction to myofascial therapy and teaches a collection of techniques that apply
prolonged light and specific pressure directed into the fascia system. Students learn that fascia
surrounds every system of the body all the way down to the cellular level. Lecture/discussion covers
how trauma, disease process, inflammation and poor posture often cause restrictions and a change in
the viscosity of the fascia. Myofascial techniques are demonstrated and taught in ways which can
stand alone as therapeutic treatment or be incorporated into other bodywork approaches to return the
fascia to a normal, healthy elastic and fluid state.
Neuromuscular Therapy, also known as trigger point therapy, is an advanced system of soft tissue manipulation that specializes in chronic myofascial pain syndromes. Part of the procedure includes an attempt to determine the causes, or perpetuating factors, of the condition, and then to determine the best approach toward resolution. Topics are assessment skills, development of palpation skills, the study of trigger point theory and corresponding pain patterns and learning how to use NMT to effectively reduce pain, increase range of motion and to move toward restoring normal quality of life.
Pathology for the Massage Therapist
This course will explore the basics of pathology, the scientific study of disease, as it relates specifically to the application of massage therapy. Included will be discussions on basic terminology, definitions, signs, symptoms, some treatments and outcomes, and the effects, contraindications and precautions for massage.
Pennsylvania Laws and Regulations
This course will present the laws and regulations governing the practice of Massage Therapy in Pennsylvania. In addition, the history of licensure in Pennsylvania and a thorough review of the application process and application timeline will be presented.
Principles of Touch - Professional Communication and Interaction
This course grounds the student in the history, philosophy and theory of massage and touch therapy. Students will learn about the benefits and effects of massage, as well as basic guidelines of the indications and contraindications of therapeutic massage. It is a comprehensive view of the principles and fundamentals of touch and massage today. This course also provides basic coaching and guidance in working with the general public as potential clients. Designed to be interactive, informative and fun, we explore the various sometimes unpredictable situations that may arise in the course of a massage therapist’s career. This course will also include an introduction to research, including how to tell if research is valid and why research is important to the massage therapy profession.
Professional Ethics I
This course continues the study from the Student Ethics & Professional Conduct course, building and
adding information and perspective about terminologies and standards of the massage field. The
focus of this class is to further understand implications and outcomes of ethical dilemmas as we
explore roles and boundaries, dual relationships, professionalism and dealing with sexual misconduct.
Professional Ethics II
This course continues the work from the previous two Ethics classes. The focus of this class is to
expand the awareness of terms and standards to allow for a more in-depth dialog concerning the
ethical implications and consequences of actions of the massage therapist.
This introductory course provides an overview of the history and theory of reflexology as well as how
the application of reflexology may be used to enhance health. Using foot maps of specific reflexes for
glands, organs and areas of the body, students will learn how to palpate and address these reflex
points. Students will also be shown a full reflexology routine, as well as reflexology techniques that
may be incorporated into massage on the feet.
The course is an introduction to Reiki, an energy balancing technique. Students will learn the system’s history, lineage and vocabulary, Reiki’s Precepts and Degrees, as well as basic hand positions and clearing techniques used in treatments for both self and client. Emphasis is placed on how Reiki can support a massage therapist’s healing practice. Students successfully passing this class are given the optional opportunity to take part in the traditional initiation ceremony outside class.
Somatic psychology explores the relationship of the mind and body through theory and experience. Lecture and discussion will be used to help students develop an appreciation for the diversity and complexity of opinions regarding the relationship of mind and body and how this relates to health. This course will trace the history and development of the Mind/Body schism in the field of human behavior and psychology in the 20th century from Freud to the present time. The course will highlight these developments in general as they have impacted the field of human behavior and specifically as they influenced the areas of bodywork that includes massage therapy. The course will also include various exercises, physical movements and physical work to enhance the mind/body connection.
Sports and Flexibility
Sports massage is an effective technique for preventing injuries, enhancing athletic performance and aiding recovery. Students will learn the theory and basic manipulations of sports massage, as well as complete pre-event and post-event massage routines. Information on injury prevention and management through the use of massage, ice and stretching will be emphasized and practiced.
Student Ethics and Professional Conduct
This course begins the study of ethics, its terminologies, standards and codes. Every decision a
massage therapist makes has ethical implications, from the obvious to the subtle. This class initiates
an understanding of how ethics weaves its way into the massage profession. New students will
explore classroom interaction, relationships with instructors, staff and management and ethical
Swedish Massage Therapy
Swedish massage is the most popular form of massage practiced in America. It is a versatile form of massage in that it can be practiced both therapeutically and for relaxation or stress reduction. This course will provide a foundation in Swedish massage through theory, demonstration and practice. The emphasis of the first term will be on developing technique and sensitivity and learning body mechanics. Emphasis of the second term is on development of an individual routine and to enhance palpation skills and massage manipulations.
Tools of the Trade
This course introduces many types of products useful for the career massage therapist. These
include massage tables, linens and warmers, bolsters and cushions, table transport products,
massage lubricants, analgesics, cleaning and sanitation products and others. Students will explore
how these products differ from one another, including the opportunity to sample some of the more
popular products. They will be introduced to many purchasing options from the school’s supply store