Students are introduced to the fundamentals of massage therapy, the ethics of classroom communication, and techniques of self care. We focus on introductions, strategies for left and right brain learning, techniques for maintaining safety in the classroom, and the principle of touch. Classes follow a structured daily format that guides students in how to apply Effleurage, Petrissage, Compression, Friction and Vibration to the entire body. This format begins with self stretching and body mechanics, followed by lecture and demonstration of technique(s) and ends with a practice period for students to apply the technique(s) learned, receive feedback from the instructor, and offer constructive feedback to each other In this course students develop a sense of ‘presence’ while learning the fundamental strokes and techniques of massage, including preparation, draping, universal precautions and self care.
Within Swedish Massage, the following areas are focused on in greater detail: legs, head/neck/spine/legs/shoulders/abdomen and chest. In these classes there will be more talk about the anatomy of each region. Students learn how to apply the basic massage training in a more detailed way which gives students more skill at applying the Swedish strokes.
Stretching (part of Swedish Massage)
Students learn how to apply static and dynamic stretches on the massage table to assist clients with increased range of motion, improved flexibility, and to add a "three-dimensional" quality to their sessions. Stretching is a basic technique used in Sports Massage.
Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology and Kinesiology(A&P)
Students are introduced to the muscular and skeletal anatomy of the human body. Students learn the basics of the language of anatomy including planes, directions and anatomical positions. Also covered is an overview of the skeleton, bony landmarks, skeletal joints and the properties, actions and design of muscular tissue. The remaining classes cover the muscles of the human body in groups: shoulder, neck/head, torso, hip/pelvis, thigh, leg and foot. Students will palpate the origin and insertions of muscles and observe the actions of specific muscles.
The systematic study of structure, function, and diseases of the human body emphasizing the muscular and skeletal systems, integumentary, cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, endocrine, digestive, urinary, and immune systems. The diseases of each system will also be discussed. Along with traditional methods of study, we use a variety of hands on techniques designed to address specific physical dysfunctions.
Contraindications (included in A&P hours)
Students are introduced to concepts of Therapeutic Decision-Making that help them understand when to use, modify or avoid certain therapeutic massage elements to ensure client safety. Using real-world case histories, students learn basic massage cautions, considerations and contraindications when working with clients who present with a variety of health conditions. Students are also exposed to basic information about common drugs, their effects and related cautions, considerations and contraindications. Special emphasis is placed on students acquiring reasoning, research, and communication skills when confronted with a client’s medical condition and related treatments.
Several of the advanced physiology courses combine more specific instruction along with detailed techniques for working with special populations or medical conditions. Massage techniques learned in Physiology/Pathology are: geriatric massage, pregnancy massage, myofascial release, and lymphatic drainage
Geriatric Massage (included in A&P hours)
The Geriatric Massage classes combine detailed information about the physiology and pathologies of aging along with specific hands-on techniques designed to work safely and effectively with the senior client. The student is exposed to additional information about specific considerations, cautions and contraindications used when working with seniors. Building on the Therapeutic Decision-Making Framework introduced in Contraindications, students learn more specific approaches to working with clients managing cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and other medical conditions associated with aging.
Introduction to Pregnancy Massage (included in A&P hours)
Pregnancy is a special time to receive massage. After a thorough look at the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, we discuss the three trimesters, including: physical and emotional considerations, precautions, positioning, and specific massage techniques that address the common discomforts of pregnancy.
Building on the student’s anatomical and physiological knowledge of the skin, nervous system, muscles and skeleton, this advanced class presents additional information about the histology, anatomy and physiology of the body’s myofascial structures. The class presents a neurological-based approach to myofascial manipulation and introduces the student to several common industry methods for deep tissue massage and myofascial release. The student also gains skills in alternative client positioning, the use of more advanced therapeutic tools and more in-depth client-therapist interactions.
Lymphatic Drainage (included in A&P hours)
This is an introduction to the theory, science and techniques developed over decades by researchers, physicians and anatomical authorities for the human lymphatic system. It is a form of gentle massage which helps facilitate the natural movement of lymph from the tissues of the body.
This class uses Ayurvedic and scientific concepts of energy, five-element theory, exercise and diet to promote health. This gentle touch method is based on the work of Dr. Randolph Stone and restores a person’s vital energy. Polarity Therapy energy balancing techniques are taught and incorporated into the student's massage training.
This course takes the student through a process for treating soft-tissue dysfunction in clients.
Clinical Reasoning helps students combine much of the knowledge they have gained throughout school and use it to effectively treat soft-tissue dysfunction (pain, decreased movement, etc). This process increases the confidence of students in how to treat specific client complaints. Students also learn about the physiology of healing, guidelines for sprains/strains and Insurance Billing.
Clinical Reasoning has the student:
gather information from the client through a detailed interview
perform a posture\ and gait analysis
perform Active, Passive and resisted Range of Motion testing as muscle pre-tests
design and implement a Treatment Plan
identify Trigger Points
treat Trigger points
perform Active, Passive and resisted Range of Motion testing as muscle post-tests to determine if there is any difference in the client's restriction, pain and/or posture.
Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) (Trigger Point)
This class emphasizes massage techniques that access both the nervous and the muscular systems. Acute and chronic pain patterns are discussed. Methods of treatment for neck, rotator cuff, and lower back dysfunctions are demonstrated and practiced. This introduction to NMT is an anatomically specific approach to mitigating acute or chronic myofascial pain and dysfunction by use of specific hands-on treatments, application of heat and cold, range of motion considerations and passive-active resistive movement therapies.
Ethics - Communication
Communication is the touchstone of massage. We communicate with our hands as well as with our words and body language. We discuss basic psychological concepts such as transference, countertransference, professionalism, healthy boundaries and therapist and client safety. Communication classes span the breadth of the massage therapy program so that students can role play situations that are pertinent to their experience. Finally, the class also introduces information on how to support clients' emotional experiences and assist survivors of trauma.
Introduction to Reflexology
Did you know there are over 7000 nerve endings in the feet? This class focuses on Foot Reflexology and how we indirectly access the whole body via the nervous system. The course includes the history of reflexology, strategies for navigating the feet, and manual pressure techniques that enhance homeostasis.
A nurturing, integrative, fluid and intuitive bodywork style using the forearm as a tool to reduce overuse of wrists and hands. Long and broad strokes cover the entire body causing clients to become deeply relaxed.
Students learn a 15 minute massage protocol using a specially built massage chair that allows the client to remain fully clothed. This truly therapeutic technique is a great way to introduce people who have no previous experience to the benefits of stress relief and relaxation that massage provides. Students learn about the features to look for when buying a chair.
Water has been used for millennia by cultures including the Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Japanese and Native Americans as a therapeutic application. All forms of water have been used to maintain or restore health. This class will focus on one day of hot and one day of cold applications. This course teaches how, when and why to use these treatments.
Students learn the fundamentals of establishing, marketing and operating a successful massage therapy practice. Information on State licensure, National Certification and professional massage associations is provided..
The First Aid portion teaches basic care for injuries or sudden illnesses; handling emergency situations; basic disease transmission precautions; recognizing and caring for bleeding, woulds, sudden illness; and immobilizing muscles, bone and joint injuries.
This CPR portion trains individuals to recognize the signs of a heart attack and provide care for an adult who is experiencing a breathing, choking or cardiac emergency. All course materials are provided to the student.
Thai Massage for the Table
Using proper body mechanics and leverage provides students with additional 'tools' that can be incorporated into the therapeutic table massage. Deep compression techniques on large muscle groups traction and tapotement will also allow the students to work soft tissue without using their hands. Thai theory will be introduced with emphasis on intention and focus and working slowly to improve results. The importance of a thorough knowledge of anatomy and contraindications is learned as students observe, palpate and practice.
As a part of their clinical hours, students may participate in off-site massage. There, they will provide chair and table massage to clothed clients at athletic events, health seminars, not-for-profit agencies, and in other community outreach settings. This prepares the student to work in an array of environments and with many different types of people. Additionally, the student has the opportunity to develop their chair massage skills, a great addition to any private practice.
Student Clinic Program
Massage therapy provided for the public in our on-site clinic. See the Student Clinic section for more information.
Total Evening Licensure Program: 675 Hours
Total Day Licensure Program: 700 Hours
Includes additional hours in anatomy, physiology, and massage techniques.
Crystal Mountain’s Student Clinic program is a wonderful way for students to develop both skill
and confidence in working with the public. In the clinic, students provide massage to members of the public in private treatment rooms. Students hone the business skills necessary for a successful
massage therapy practice while developing their massage therapy techniques.
Students may enter the clinical phase of their education once they have acquired the necessary
technical ability, interpersonal skills, and confidence in their work. Some students begin work in the
clinic as early as the 10th week of school. Other students may choose to wait until later in the
program before beginning.
Students may accrue up to 14 hours of their 150-hour student clinic program in areas outside our clinic. Options
for all students include working one-on-one with a faculty member, and/or providing massage
therapy at supervised community events. These events include health conferences, seminars, athletic events, fundraisers, and charity events.
*Crystal Mountain reserves the right to make changes to our curriculum to best serve our students