|The Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy - Curriculum
Myology & Kinesiology
Myology is the study of muscles and kinesiology is the study of movement of the body. Understanding muscles and movement aids massage therapists in assessing and addressing postural issues and range of motion limitations. This course fosters an appreciation of the complexity of the body and how it moves. Students study the skeletal system and 120 muscles. They learn the location (including origin and insertion) of these muscles, the actions they perform, and their nerve innervators. Students also examine the effects of shortened and lengthened muscles, both posturally and functionally. We discuss massage techniques appropriate for the majority of the muscles covered. Myology and Kinesiology utilizes lecture, discussion, palpation, movement, drawing, and case studies as learning tools.
Myology and Kinesiology for Massage Therapists
By: Cindy Moorcroft, B.A., L.M.T
Moorcroft, C. (2011). Myology and Kinesiology for Massage Therapists (1st ed.). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
Anatomy & Physiology
This course takes students on a journey of exploration into the structure and function of the human body. We look at the marvels of human anatomy and physiology from the perspective of massage therapists, and focus on material relevant to the practice of massage therapy. Class begins with a study of cells and tissues, and continues through 11 systems of the body: integumentary, skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, endocrine, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive.
Applied Anatomy & Physiology for Manual Therapists
By: Pat Archer, MS, ATC, LMP; Lisa A. Nelson, BA, ATR, LMP
Archer, P. & Nelson, L. (2012). Applied Anatomy & Physiology for Manual Therapists (1st ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Neurology is a concentrated study of the nervous system. Students will explore the organization and function of the nervous system in greater detail than in Anatomy and Physiology class. Topics covered include the autonomic nervous system, the nerve pathways, the ventricular system, and muscle tone regulation. The impact of massage on the nervous system is a focus of the course. In addition, bodywork techniques are taught that utilize concepts of neurology.
Pregnancy Massage is a component of the Foundations of Massage course, and offers students an opportunity to customize their Swedish massage for pregnant clients. The goal of this class is to familiarize students with health issues affecting pregnant clients, to show modifications Reflexology is also a component of the Foundations of Massage course. Reflexology is an ancient healing art in which massage therapists can stimulate healing by pressing on specific points on the hands, feet and ears. Students will learn the indications for specific points on the feet, and an overall reflexology routine, which can be used to balance the body.
Reflexology is an ancient healing art in which massage therapists can bring wellness to the body by working points on the hands, feet and ears. Reflexology promotes relaxation and helps return the body to a balanced, healthy state. Students use pressure points, primarily on the feet, which correspond to other parts of the body, and learn a basic reflexology routine to use with their clientele.
This course teaches the application of Swedish massage techniques for athletes and for anyone who performs repetitive movements. Students can expect to learn the history, benefits, and contraindications of sports massage. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation techniques and stretching will be presented and practiced. These techniques improve range of motion and relieve cramping. Students will be taught massage appropriate for athletes directly prior to competition, and directly after competition. Finally, this course introduces the use of heat and cold, including hydrocollator use and ice massage.
Chair massage is a safe, non-invasive way to apply massage to clients in a seated position. Chair massage is a wonderful way to introduce clients to massage therapy because it is performed through clothing and without oil or lubricant. Chair massage is extremely versatile, as massage chairs are easily portable, require little space, and can be used in public settings. This course teaches chair massage techniques, including two specific routines, as well as special techniques to address headaches and low back pain. In addition, students will explore the possibilities for marketing and using chair massage as part of a practice/business.
This course introduces students to the special considerations needed when with elderly, fragile, critically ill, or hospitalized clients. The following topics will be addressed: how to work with clients who are bedridden or in wheelchairs, death and dying, grief, illness and health, and issues faced by the elderly. Students learn gentle, soothing massage strokes to benefit this population and will have a chance to experience the deep rewards of this work through the Community Service Program at CNW.
The myofascial/connective tissue course is an introduction to the anatomy and physiology of connective tissue, as well as an introduction to the principles and practice of the John F. Barnes approach to myofascial release. The basic anatomy and physiology of the fascial system is presented, as well as the fascial system’s relationship to other physiological systems in the body. Students will learn beginning-level evaluation techniques and palpation of anatomical landmarks to establish postural asymmetries and connective tissue integrity. Students will learn to differentiate between soft tissue mobilization and myofascial release techniques. Students will practice beginning-level myofascial techniques and learn when to utilize them. Finally, students will learn how to integrate treatment of the fascial system within a swedish massage session.
NMT is a modality in which balance is brought about between the nervous system and the muscular system. Students will examine factors that contribute to pain and dysfunction in the body including ischemia, trigger points, postural distortion, poor body mechanics, stress, and poor nutrition. Students will learn specific hands-on techniques to work with the origins, insertions, and bellies of muscles; to release ischemic, hypercontracted tissue; and to restore proper balance to muscle groups and the nervous system.
This course is an introduction to craniosacral therapy. This modality is a gentle, profound, relaxing bodywork that uses “listening hands” and the rhythms of the craniosacral system to balance the nervous system and stimulate self-healing. This light-pressure technique can be especially effective for chronic physical and emotional issues such as migraines, back pain, anxiety, insomnia, PMS, depression, TMJ dysfunction, learning disabilities, and many other conditions.This course provides students the opportunity to experience craniosacral therapy as both giver and receiver. Hands-on work is the focus, and this includes sensing the craniosacral rhythms/waves, “blending,” learning to trust intuitive perceptions, assessment/treatment, “practitioner neutral,” and more. Students learn how to integrate craniosacral Therapy into a swedish massage.
Understanding Craniosacral Therapy
By: John Wilks
Wilks, J. (2004). Understanding Craniosacral Therapy (Understanding). Gloucestershire: First Stone Publishing.
This course requires students to consider all modalities they have learned and design massage sessions appropriate for clients with injuries and other medical conditions. Students also expand their client intake skills. By the end of the course students will have gained proficiency in using an integrated modality massage approach to a variety of client health issues.
Shiatsu is a form of bodywork based on Oriental philosophy and acupuncture meridians. It is designed to stimulate the flow of energy in the meridians by using finger, palm, elbow, knee, foot pressure. Shiatsu is traditionally practiced on a Shiatsu mat placed on the floor, with the client wearing loose, comfortable clothing. Practitioners use their own body weight to “lean” into the client. This course teaches students the basic concepts of yin/yang, kyo and jitsu, five-element theory, and the location of the twelve meridians and two major vessels on the body. Students also learn the makkahoes (meridian stretches) to assess the flow of energy through the body, and hara assessment to help design their Shiatsu session. By the course’s completion, students will be able to provide a full-body Shiatsu session.
Intermediate & Advanced Acupressure Meridians & Five Elements
By: Michael Reed Gach
Gach, M. R. (2009). Intermediate & Advanced Acupressure Meridians & Five Elements. Berkeley: Michael Reed Gach. (Original work published 1984)
By: Marge McGreevy, LMT; Mary Crinnin, LMT; Dagny Alexander, LMT
McGreevy, M.; Crinnin, M.; Alexander, D. (2010). Shiatsu Manual. Albany: CNWSMT.
Copyright Date: 2010
Introduction to Energy
What is “energy” and how does it relate to massage? In this class, students discuss different philosophies concerning the body’s energy field, including Reiki, acupuncture, the chakra system, and therapeutic touch. The class will introduce a variety of practices concerning energy, and handson exercises in T’ai Chi, Qigong and energy palpation to increase energy awareness in the massage practitioner.
Polarity therapy is a form of energy balancing created by Dr. Randolph Stone. It deals with balancing the electromagnetic life force energy, in and around the body, allowing the body to heal itself. Students will learn basic theory and techniques for giving a generalized session of polarity energy balancing. They will be introduced to element theory. They will be taught techniques using gentle hand and finger contact to assist clients in releasing energy blockages and enhancing their well-being. Students will learn how to balance the major chakras. Students will learn how to integrate some of the specific polarity techniques into a swedish massage session.
This class teaches the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes. The history of aromatherapy and the possible uses of essential oils in the practice of massage therapy are also discussed. Students learn the therapeutic value of many different essential oils. Each student will create an individual prescription essential oil blend for himself/herself, and an essential oil massage blend for a classmate. In addition, this course teaches the different properties of assorted carrier oils.
New York State requires that all massage therapy candidates hold CPR and first aid certification at the time they sit for the licensure exam. Thus, a CPR/First Aid class is provided within the School’s curriculum.
The Professional Development course provides information relevant to beginning a career in massage therapy. This course covers business basics including goal setting, marketing, business start-up, motivation, interviewing skills, and client communication. This course also teaches New York State law, licensure, and ethics related to massage therapy. Each student is given assistance in creating a business plan which includes a cover letter and resume. This plan outlines their intentions for utilizing massage therapy. During the course, students will hear from many speakers about the varied business prospects for massage therapists.
By: Cherie M. Sohnen-Moe
Sohnen-Moe, C. M. (2008). Business Mastery: A Guide for Creating a Fulfilling, Thriving Business and Keeping it Successful (Fourth Edition ed.). Tuscon: Sohnen-Moe Associates.
Students gain practical experience through using what is learned in the classroom and applying it to a diverse clientele from the community in our student clinic setting. In addition each student performs 12 hours of massage therapy at a community service site, such as a local hospital, nursing home or community center. This is the time when students refine their skills in massage, learn how to work with clients with various medical conditions, and see how massage can benefit them. Students also develop non-bodywork skills by keeping files, and greeting and interviewing clients. This prepares students for experiences in their own or other practices.
Student Clinic Handbook
By: CNW Staff
Staff. (2010). Student Clinic Handbook. Albany: CNWSMT.
Copyright Date: 2010
Community Service offers students the chance to give massage in a variety of community settings, including hospitals, community hospice, nursing homes and socail service organizations. Students may massage the elderly, the ill, or the dying, who need a more gentle touch. They experience the rich rewards that the work of service can bring.
Self Care/Self Responsibility
Self Care / Self Responsibility is a one class course designed to support students in their quest for success at CNWSMT. An overview of study skills is presented, including setting goals, using affirmations, identifying learning styles, time management, improving memory and test taking tips. The second portion of the course addresses tools for maintaining life balance, recognizing educational wounding, recognizing and responding to triggers, and understanding transference and counter transference.
Integrative Study is an opportunity for each student to explore a topic of interest beyond what is covered in the school's curriculum. Each student designs a project related to massage therapy, and presents the findings to their classmates at the end of the program. The course provides a wonderful chance for students to enrich the class by sharing their particular interests and individual work.
Wellness and Emotional Growth
The Wellness class offers students an opportunity to look within. The class was created with the belief that massage therapists are in a position to offer caring, therapeutic, healing touch to clients. Our ability to offer caring, healing, therapeutic touch is directly related to our ability to be open and present, and to know ourselves. It is also important to look deeply at why we have chosen to be massage therapists and how it is that we can take good care of ourselves. The greater awareness we have of our beliefs and feelings (about touch, emotions, healing, self-acceptance, etc.), the better able we will be to understand our clients, communicate with them, and provide our best massage work. The Wellness class also offers students information and exercises to foster self-awareness, clear intention, and the ability to be fully centered. In addition, students will explore issues that are relevant to massage. Such issues include dealing with emotional release on the table, boundary challenges that may arise with clients, and the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship.
The Psychology of the Body
By: Elliot Greene & Barbara Goodrich-Dunn
Greene, E., & Goodrich-Dunn, B. (2004). The Psychology of the Body (LWW Massage Therapy & Bodywork Educational Series) (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Lipincott Williams & Wilkins.
This introductory class teaches students the basic philosophy and uses of homeopathy. Students are introduced to many homeopathic remedies, and use homeopathically prepared arnica in a massage.
This course provides students with instruction in using their forearms as massage tools. Utilizing forearm massage allows therapists to reduce the stress on their fingers, thumbs, and wrists, as well as add variety to their massage.
This course teaches client assessment skills in greater depth than is taught in Foundations of Massage. Students enhance their ability to gather information about clients, analyze the information, and utilize it to design a massage therapy session to meet the client’s needs. Students are taught star charting as a way to record postural and range of motion issues. The physiological effects of massage strokes and use of SOAP notes are reviewed. During the last two classes, students practice the comprehensive intake and assessment process by participating in a small group learning experience. Each student will interview and assess a client, and design a treatment plan while being observed and assisted by five classmates and an instructor.
Western Pathology I and II
Pathology is the study of the nature and cause of disease as it relates to the structure and function of the body.
Western Pathology I: Students receive an overview of illnesses, injuries, and other health conditions commonly seen in massage therapy clients. The massage indications and cautions for each condition are presented. In addition, this class has a significant focus on developing and practicing the interview and communication skills needed when designing massage sessions for clients with health issues. Role plays and case studies will be used frequently in class. The course will also include bodywork, allowing students to practice constructing goals, designing, and then carrying out massage therapy sessions for clients with various medical conditions.
Western Pathology II: In this course, students explore selected pathologies in depth. Cancer, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and numerous digestive, urinary, and reproductive system disorders are viewed from Western, natropathic, and energy medicine perspectives. In addition, students look at a number of musculoskeletal conditions in depth, learn special tests to sharpen their assessment skills, and practice bodywork techniques appropriate for addressing these issues. The course will help students make decisions in regard to providing massage to clients with various pathologies and help prepare them to work in conjunction with other health care providers.
A Massage Therapists Guide to Pathology (LWW Massage Therapy & Bodywork Educational Series)
By: Ruth Werner
Werner, R. (2008). A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology (LWW Massage Therapy & Bodywork Educational Series) (5 ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
By: Cindy Moorcroft
Moorcroft, C. (2012). Pathology Workbook. Albany: CNWSMT.
Copyright Date: 2012
Western Path. Independent Study and Presentation
This course requires each student to complete a 25 hour research project on a topic relating bodywork to pathology. Each student presents his or her project to the class.
This course complements the hands-on Shiatsu class by providing additional information about history and theory of Oriental medicine, Qigong, herbs, acupuncture, and cupping. Students can expect to gain a greater understanding of energy work.
Foundations of Massage
This course is the foundation of Western or Swedish massage. Students are taught the basic strokes of effleurage, petrissage, friction, vibration and tapotement, and the physiological effects of each stroke. Students learn the overall benefits of Swedish massage including relaxation, stress reduction, enhanced circulation, pain relief, increased range of motion, relief of muscle tension, and creation of a general sense of well-being. Cautions and contraindications for clients and therapists are also covered. In addition, this course will teach the history of Swedish massage, the proper use of massage therapy equipment, how to drape the body, proper positioning of the client, body mechanics for the therapist, and safety issues. Finally, this course will encourage students to explore self-care and self-awareness, utilizing stretching, relaxation techniques, and centering exercises.
Pregnancy Massage is a component of the Foundations of Massage course, and offers students an opportunity to customize their Swedish massage for pregnant clients. The goal of this class is to familiarize students with health issues affecting pregnant clients and to show necessary massage modifications.
Reflexology is also a component of the Foundations of Massage course. Reflexology is an ancient healing art in which massage therapists can stimulate healing by pressing on specific points on the hands, feet, and ears. Students will learn the indications for specific points on the feet, and an overall reflexology routine, which can be used to balance the body.
Foundations of Massage Therapy Manual
By: CNW Staff
Staff. (2013). Foundations of Massage Therapy. Albany: CNWSMT.
Copyright Date: 2013