Course Outline

Trust the process… step by step.

Good words to keep us moving towards any goal are found on the wall in the Student Lounge at the Center as a gentle reminder of encouragement along the way.

Our 600 hour course includes each of the following classes. Some topics are covered in depth while others are introductions to add to the solid, broad-based foundation in the profession. All classes are instructor-supervised with most of the classes occurring on-campus. There are instructor-supervised field trips for topics directly related to the content of the class as indicated below.

The curriculum has been approved by the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy and exceeds the requirements for Iowa licensure.

Click on any of the classes for a description.

Massage Therapy: (230 hours)

This class covers a wide range of topics that contribute to your overall excellence in massage. You will learn the theory and then apply it in the classroom and the Student Clinic experience. Topics include:

  • Foundation for Professional Massage Therapy
  • Infection Control, Injury Prevention, and Sanitation
  • Massage Therapy Theory and Practice
  • Beginning & Advanced Therapeutic Massage Techniques
  • Swedish Massage and Conscious Massage
  • Body Mechanics, Body Language, and Body Awareness

Our massage method is called “Conscious Massage” which transcends the hands-on techniques and physical-based treatment. Our method has roots in Swedish Massage with a strong focus on professionalism, service, and awareness of all aspects of ourselves and our clients….physical, mental, emotions, and spirit components.

You have the opportunity to learn about the body and how it works from several different perspectives. You will learn how to move for your safety and injury prevention. You’ll also experience the feeling of true ‘flow’ on a class outing to the swimming pool. We teach that, ultimately, it’s possible to feel in your trained and experienced hands what is going on in the tissue.

Beginning and Advanced Massage Techniques
Massage Professionalism & Refinements
Excellence – How to make each massage the very best it can be

We believe that literally nearly everyone could benefit from receiving massage. Our program is designed so that you have the opportunity to learn how to modify the basic massage to meet the unique needs of clients in various situations, settings, and stage throughout their life:

Lifespan Modified Massage Methods:

Pregnancy Massage
Massage can help a woman adjust to the miraculous changes that occur on a daily basis while she is pregnant. It also helps create a more relaxed environment within the mother for the baby to grow and develop.

Newborn Massage
The purpose of Newborn Massage is to teach parents and caregivers how to massage their babies. Scientific studies have shown that babies gain weight more easily (the one time in life we celebrate this), sleep better, digest better, and thrive with positive, nurturing touch on a regular basis. Massage also supports bonding with the baby, clearly a profoundly positive benefit for all involved.

Children’s Massage
Much like with adults, massage can be very beneficial for children. Although changes are needed in the technique to support i.e. reducing the experience of being tickled and adjusting the timing and focus of the massage strokes.

Massage for Adults – varying degrees of health

Geriatric Massage
The need for nurturing touch is something people simply never outgrow. Even if aging adults basic physical care needs are met, they often are significantly deprived of positive touch. Massage, modified to meet their unique situation, can have benefits far beyond what you might imagine.

Comfort Massage for the terminally ill (includes field trip): Massage can provide comfort and compassionate for people at the end stage of life. Knowing that something is being done to help can also be very supportive for the family. Understanding what is needed to modify the massage for the end stage of life can be a truly meaningful and life enriching experience for all involved.

This part of the course may help you choose the focus of your future practice. It will also give you sufficient information so that you can offer massage in various areas of professional practice and, therefore, expand the potential opportunities for your future.

Understanding how massage affects body tissues is the root of determining how to modify the massage during different events (i.e. before a sporting event vs. after a sports event) and for different desired outcomes (i.e. to enliven and refresh vs. relaxation). Our program is designed so that you have the opportunity to learn how to modify the basic massage to meet the unique needs of clients in different situations, settings, and events of their lives:

Purpose Modified Massage Methods:

Chair Massage (includes field trip)
Massage chairs are portable and allow for versatility in both offering services and/or use as a marketing tool. Short massages are given to the fully clothed client in an upright position. This flexibility allows licensed massage therapists to offer massage in nearly any environment including the office setting, events, and places of business. Many massage therapists incorporate chair massage services as a part of their private practice.

Hydrotherapy (includes field trip)
In the Hydrotherapy class, you will apply learning about the circulatory system (from your Anatomy and Physiology class) to the hands-on use of heat and cold applications. As for music, it’s common knowledge that special music can enhance the massage experience. But in this class, we explore beyond the “obvious music choices” for massage and expand our understanding of “sound”.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage
The emphasis for this type of massage is on the movement of tissue fluids. There are significant variations in this method as compared to the traditional Swedish massage which makes it especially good to be exposed to as a part of a broad based massage foundation.

Sports Event Massage:
While most people think massage is only for relaxation, it can also be used to prepare muscles for maximum physical performance in activity and support the removal of natural toxins following activity. Some of these techniques work particularly well with personal training and those interested in physical activities.

Stone Massage:
Stone Massage is one of those methods that seems “new” but has been around for centuries. The stones can be used as tools as an extension of the massage therapist’s hands that also carry the benefits of heat and cold applications. They can also be used for their inherent natural grounding and healing vibrations. You’ll never look at “rocks” in the same way after this class.

This part of the course may help you choose the focus of your future practice. It will also give you sufficient information so that you can offer massage in various areas of professional practice and, therefore, expand the potential opportunities for your future.

Massage Enhancements: (12 hours)

Attention to detail makes all the difference in enhancing and supporting the massage experience for your clients. Your professionalism will shine through every aspect of your work when you apply what you have learned here.

We learn the importance of preparing the environment prior to the session. As for music, it’s common knowledge that special music can enhance the massage experience. In this class, we explore beyond the “obvious” music choices for massage and expand your awareness of the much broader topic of “sound”.


Student Massage Therapy Clinic: (150 hours)

Students first learn the full-body massage sequence by working with each other in the classroom. After they earn (and as they maintain) their teacher’s endorsement, they have the privilege to participate in the Student Clinic. Here they continue to practice and apply what they have learned in the classroom.

The student’s massage sessions are given in private rooms at the school. One of our teachers (a licensed massage therapist) is available and dedicated to supporting you during your massages with the public. Clinic clients have the opportunity to receive a massage while also supporting professional education in the community.

All equipment, linens, lotions, supplies, and clients are provided for you.

After you graduate, and earn your Iowa Massage Therapy license, you may be invited to continue to offer massages in our Professional Massage Clinic.

Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology and Pathology: (140 hours)

This class is essential for you to prepare for the licensure exam. Nearly 50% of the questions on the exam directly related to these topics. It is also important for you to understand your clients’ health issues to know when to refer them to another health care provider. For these reasons, our Anatomy and Physiology course far exceeds the minimum number of hours required by the State of Iowa and also exceeds the minimum required for National Certification.

In the Anatomy & Physiology class, our goal is to make a potentially complicated topic easy to understand. You will learn about how the body works when things are “normal”, what happens when things aren’t working so well, and when to change your massage based on the client’s health. This includes:

  • Structure and Function of the Body
  • Bones, Muscles and Movement
  • Nutrition from multiple perspectives
  • Recognizing Health and Illness (includes field trip)
  • Modifying Massage based on the client’s health
  • Indications and Contraindications for Massage

Although previous exposure to these topics could be helpful, this is an introductory level class designed to focus on information you need to know.

Instructor-supervised field trip is a part of this class.

Business Success: (40 hours)

This class begins with basic business information about establishing your practice. Next, we cover ways to promote yourself. As a part of “Marketing for the New Millennium”, we explore ideas about success, work, security, selling, public speaking, money, and how these topics impact your future practice. You also have the opportunity to consider what setting and focus for your massage practice fits best for you.

As a massage therapist, you may be asked to give presentations and massage demonstrations to various groups. You may consider this a valuable marketing tool to introduce yourself to potential new clients. Information is also included about Massage Therapy Professional Association membership, continuing education, and other opportunities.

Business related topics include specific details that anyone who is going into business would need to know and also those specific to the massage profession. For example:

  • Professionalism & Ethics (6 hours)
  • Iowa Law and Licensing Issues, Policies & Procedures
  • How to Build Your Business – both traditional and new ideas
  • Marketing for the New Millennium
  • Minimizing Test Anxiety
  • Business Records and Medical Charting
  • Consider various setting options

Instructor-supervised field trip is a part of this class.

Related Therapies: (18 hours)

As a Massage Therapist, you will be a part of one of the leading Complementary and Alternative Health Methods in this country. People will expect you to know something about these other Methods. General information is included to prepare you for National Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, if you choose to pursue that credential. In this class, we introduce you to other Methods:

  • Reflexology
  • Chinese Medicine, Meridians, and Acupuncture
  • Ayur Vedic Medicine and Chakras
  • Complementary and Alternative Health Methods

Elective Classes

These optional classes are in addition to the required 600 hours in the Massage Therapy Program. There are several opportunities to add these elective classes along the way, tailored to your unique set of goals, arranged directly with the Director.

This class, up to 100 hours, includes offering presentations to the public and participation in teacher-supervised massage therapy experience at various off-campus settings.
This class, up to 100 hours, is tailored to the individual needs of the student. It includes hands-on, group, and one-on-one components.