Massage therapy courses cover everything from the basics of the human body to specialized massage techniques. A good massage therapy training program will prepare you to work in a number of environments, including spas, hospitals, athletic centers, and more.
Most training programs that offer massage therapy courses can be completed in less than a year. After graduating and completing a certain number of training hours, massage therapists are eligible for massage therapy certification. In most cases, you should expect to undertake at least 500 hours of massage therapy courses and training before you can become certified. If you decide to participate in an externship, you can easily achieve around 1,000 hours of training within a year.
Below you will find more information about basic massage therapy courses.
Basic Massage Therapist Courses
The foundation of your massage therapy courses will involve three classes:
- Anatomy – the human body’s structure
- Physiology – the body’s functions
- Pathology – the body’s ailments
You might also take massage therapy courses in pharmacology where you will learn how prescribed medications can affect the body. Some programs include a class in kinesiology, the study of physical movement, which is especially important when working with athletes.
Some of your massage therapy courses will teach you about the history and theory of massage, which has origins over 2,000 years ago. As a massage therapist, you will be expected to understand both the benefits and limitations of the craft, which is a blend of art and science.
Like all therapists, massage therapists must learn how to establish boundaries between themselves and the client. Massage therapy is an intimate practice and requires careful consideration of client relations. Some schools offer massage therapy courses in professional ethics, which will teach you the legal and moral boundaries of job.
Some massage therapy schools have courses in career management and business development. These massage therapy courses will teach you about interview preparation, resume enhancement, advertising, and self-management. These classes will benefit you long after graduation when you are seeking massage therapist jobs or starting your own business.
Specialized Massage Therapists Courses
Along with the scientific and professional massage therapy courses, you will also have the opportunity to learn about different types of massage currently performed. Massage therapists may choose to specialize in one particular area or practice a wide array of massage techniques. You will master the massage modalities through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience.
Some specialized massage therapy courses include:
- Swedish Massage – Uses several different stroke patterns to stimulate circulation
- Deep Tissue Massage – A type of massage that penetrates deep into the muscular structure
- Shiatsu – When pressure applied by the hands is used to release tension
- Sports Massage – Focuses on healing repetitive stress and athletic injuries
- Acupressure – Applies pressure to specific points on the body to unlock positive energy
There are many other types of massage techniques, so make sure you ask your massage therapy school which type of specialized massage therapy courses they offer.