MTST – Massage Therapy
Massage Therapy Foundations
Students acquire fundamental knowledge about the massage therapy profession including history, standards of practice, regulatory requirements, complementary therapies, as well as current and future trends. Students explore the roles and responsibilities of a massage therapist and the importance of inter-professional collaboration. Medical terminology used in the study of anatomy, physiology, massage theory and techniques is also examined.
Developing well-refined tactile abilities is an essential skill for a massage therapist. Palpation lab is a kinesthetic course focusing on locating important anatomical landmarks including muscle, bone, joints, nerves, arteries and ligaments. Reinforcing musculoskeletal knowledge, this course develops skills to accurately palpate and identify common anatomical structures of the human body as well as differentiate between normal and abnormal findings.
Co-requisites: MTST 120.
Functional Survey for Massage Therapists
The theory and techniques to obtain a comprehensive health history and assess the wellness status of patients seeking massage therapy are presented. Students are introduced to postural and gait analysis, interviewing skills, vital sign assessment, and professional practice documentation. Students learn/practice interpreting objective and subjective data and differentiating between normal and abnormal findings. Hygiene, infection control and safety considerations are also addressed.
Human Anatomy I
This course is an in-depth study of the anatomical structures of the head, neck, trunk, abdomen, upper and lower extremities. The components of the musculoskeletal system and arthrology are examined in detail. Palpation skills are developed through surface anatomy labs which involve exploration of major bony and soft tissue landmarks.
Human Anatomy II
Students develop an understanding of the subcategories of anatomy including structural organization, body cavities, the cell, and tissues of muscle, nerve and bone. Students explore the structure and function of the major systems of the body including: cardiovascular, lymphatic and immune, respiratory, nervous, endocrine, gastrointestinal, urinary, reproductive and integumentary systems. Students are introduced to the special senses.
An introduction to the physiology of the body is provided. The nervous, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and protective systems are emphasized to explain the relationships between body fluid distribution, sensory stimulation, and the modulation of pain perception.
The physiology of the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, and immune systems and how these systems co-regulate the functioning of the body is discussed in detail. Hormonal and autonomic control of the respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems are emphasized along with an examination of the special senses.
Prerequisites: MTST 125.
This course examines the principles, procedures and techniques involved in providing a wellness massage therapy treatment. Introductory massage techniques, patient positioning, draping, therapist self-care and the correct use of posture and body mechanics are presented. Students are introduced to SOAP notes, communication, informed consent, hygiene, infection control precautions, indications/contraindications, treatment modification and the principles of massage therapy treatments. Furthermore, students develop and utilize palpation skills in identifying bony landmarks and soft tissues structures.
Developing Therapeutic Relationships
Fundamental knowledge of ethical values and the skills to develop effective therapeutic relationships are examined. The application of active listening, verbal and non-verbal communication techniques and patient-therapist responses to massage therapy are explored. Through discussion and experiential learning, the following topics are studied: professional boundaries, establishing trust, interpersonal conflict, interview skills, cultural diversity, self-care, body image, transference and counter-transference, power differential, sexual abuse prevention, and the management of personal values in a patient-therapist relationship.
This course introduces massage therapy treatment principles and soft tissue/postural assessment skills. An in-depth study and practice of myofascial release, skin rolling, friction massage and muscle stripping techniques are developed in the context of a comprehensive massage therapy treatment. Students learn to work with greater tissue sensitivity and treat with increased depth. Prescribing appropriate patient self-care, introductory thermal therapy and principles of therapist injury prevention are emphasized. Contraindications, patient positioning, draping, fundamentals of health history analysis and professional documentation are reinforced.
An in-depth study and practice of thermal therapy, trigger point therapy, golgi tendon organ, muscle approximation, and origin-insertion techniques are presented in this course. Students learn to recognize contraindications, indications and when to modify these treatment modalities as they relate to common pathological conditions. Through experiential learning, students further refine palpation and assessment skills required for effective application of these techniques.
Prerequisites or Co-requisites: MTST 122.
An in-depth analysis of the structure and muscle function of human movement and gait is explored. Anatomy of upper and lower extremity joints is reviewed. The physical basis of movement and muscle function is examined. Basic movements and sport activities are analyzed.
Prerequisites: MTST 120.
Research Literacy for Massage Therapists
The basic components of research literacy are covered in this course. Students locate, evaluate and utilize research and professional literature in the context of massage therapy practice. The application of evidence-informed treatment practices and planning to enhance patient care is a major focus.
Prerequisites: MTST 108.
Assessment for Massage Therapists I
The basic theory of assessment related to the practice of massage therapy is presented. Assessment of the cervical spine, thoracic spine and upper body including posture and gait analysis, palpation, range-of-motion, muscle testing, joint play, special tests and neurological testing are examined in detail. Students learn how to take a comprehensive case history, incorporate assessment findings from other health care practitioners and utilize assessment data to inform treatment planning decisions. Documentation and interpretation of assessment findings are integral components of the course.
Assessment for Massage Therapists II
Assessment for commonly-occurring conditions affecting the lower body is the focus of this course. Assessment of the lumbar spine, pelvis and lower extremities including posture and gait analysis, palpation, range-of-motion, muscle testing, joint play, special tests and neurological testing are examined in detail. Students learn how to take a comprehensive case history, incorporate assessment findings from other health care practitioners and utilize assessment data to inform treatment planning decisions. Documentation and interpretation of assessment findings are integral components of the course.
Prerequisites: MTST 155.
Clinical Practice I
This course introduces students to the practice of massage therapy in a supervised clinical setting. Working with the public, students have the opportunity to practice introductory massage therapy techniques and develop skills such as body mechanics, draping, communication, informed consent, assessment, practice records, recognizing modifications/contraindications and provide basic home-care recommendations.
Clinical Practice II
This course builds on the practical experience gained in MTST 161. In a supervised setting, students provide massage therapy assessment and treatment to a variety of patients. This course offers an opportunity to practice time management, advanced techniques, alternate positioning and sequencing, introductory assessment procedures, charting skills, treatment plan development and prescribe basic self-care. Chair massage is also introduced.
Peripheral joint mobilizations, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, static stretching and lymphatic drainage techniques are explained, demonstrated and practiced. An in-depth understanding of the contraindications, indications and modifications of these techniques are explored. Techniques are practiced within the context of an evidence-informed comprehensive treatment plan with information gathered from appropriate clinical assessment.
Co-requisites: MTST 281.
The theory and practice of therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation are presented within the context of massage therapy treatment planning. Case studies are used to facilitate the development of appropriate therapeutic exercise intervention for patients with a variety of musculoskeletal disorders and movement dysfunction. This course also examines the principles, assessment and techniques for lower extremity peripheral joint mobilizations.
Prerequisites: MTST 224.
Co-requisites: MTST 283.
Facilitated by case studies, this course takes an integrative approach allowing students the opportunity to consolidate material learned in the program into comprehensive massage therapy treatment protocols for commonly occurring conditions. The focus is on evaluating research to inform clinical decisions about assessment, treatment planning, and therapeutic exercise components of a massage therapy treatment protocol.
Clinical Practice III
This course involves the application of advanced massage therapy to patients in a supervised setting. The intent is to build on the practical experience and knowledge gained in MTST 162. This course provides an opportunity to develop advanced techniques on a variety of clinical pathologies and special populations commonly seen by massage therapists. A focus is placed on advanced assessment, treatment planning, application of specialized techniques, relevant clinical observation, and self-care customized to individual patients.
Clinical Practice IV
This supervised clinical experience provides students with the opportunity to practice a wide-range of assessment, massage therapy techniques, therapeutic exercise and thermal applications on patients. Massage therapy treatments focus on assessing and rehabilitating patients with a variety of commonly-occurring pathological conditions. Case conferences are conducted at which time students present assessment data and treatment plans for individual patients.
Clinical Practice V
Working as part of a multi-disciplinary health care team, students provide therapeutic massage techniques to patients with special needs in a supervised clinical setting. Working in a health care facility/setting, students further develop assessment and treatment skills while contributing to effective and collaborative patient-centered care. Case conferences are conducted at which time students present assessment data and treatment plans for individual patients.
Business Management for Massage Therapists
An introduction to starting and managing a massage therapy business is presented. Sustainable business practices are explored. From an entrepreneurial view, an emphasis is placed upon practice management, principles of business management, financial management, billing procedures, business plan development, marketing and service promotion. Creating a resume and developing interview skills are also addressed.
Massage Therapy for Special Populations I
The various stages of the human lifespan are studied in this course. Applying therapeutic massage treatment for healthy populations throughout the lifespan is the primary focus. The areas of consideration include pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and geriatric. Breast massage is also introduced.
Massage Therapy for Special Populations II
The theory and application of therapeutic massage intervention for patients with special needs is examined in this course. Students learn the etiology, pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of post-surgical conditions, psychiatric, chronic illnesses, deteriorating conditions, severe trauma and palliative care. The course also teaches students how to safely and effectively assess and treat patients who present with these conditions and impairments. Safety and ethical considerations are presented in detail.
Prerequisites: MTST 273.
Prerequisites or Co-requisites: HLST 150.
Treatments and Planning I
Students explore evidence-informed approaches to treatment planning. The components of a massage therapy treatment plan and its relationship to assessment, research evidence and desired clinical outcomes are explained. This course examines the principles for planning ongoing massage therapy treatment for individuals with various pathological conditions by using case studies for clinical practice.
Treatments and Planning II
Treatment planning for a variety of neurological, orthopedic, respiratory and musculoskeletal conditions are studied. Assessment findings are utilized to make evidence-informed decisions in developing a comprehensive treatment plan for commonly-occurring conditions. Incorporating knowledge of common clinical presentations, the student selects appropriate massage therapy techniques and modalities considering the patient's stage of life and health status.
The focus of this course is on the theory and practice of sport massage. The history of sport massage and role of the sport massage therapist is examined in detail. The indications and contraindications as they relate to sport-specific athletes are addressed as well as sport massage techniques, positioning, stretching, pre-, inter- and post-event, and training/maintenance massage. A review of common sport injuries, including their assessment and treatment are also discussed in this course.
Prerequisites: MTST 142.
Prerequisites or Co-requisites: MTST 146.