Massage Course Descriptions

Anatomy & Physiology

This course consists of a study of tissue development from the cellular level to the organ systems, with a special emphasis on the relationships between muscle, the nervous system and connective tissue, and the application of such knowledge to the practice of massage. Finger Lakes School of Massage students will also learn about Neurology, Pathology, nutrition, and preventative health maintenance. Emphasis is given to the physiology of emotional experience and the role of the mind-body connection in chronic tension.

Body Mechanics

Massage therapy can be a physically demanding profession due to factors such as repetitive motion, use of force, and awkward posture. This course discusses the application of proper body mechanics in order to prevent injury and increase efficiency.

Chair Massage

A massage chair is a useful tool for marketing at events such as festivals, or for offering on-site massage therapy. This course will discuss such opportunities in detail and how to maximize them, as well as teach students how to conduct a massage chair routine.

Communication Skills

Classes are offered throughout the program with the intention of teaching students the communication skills necessary for professional practice. Topics explored include ethics, professional boundaries, principles of clear communication, and the process of guiding clients through their emotions.

Connective Tissue Therapy (CTT)

CTT is a "deep" form of massage, which targets the connective tissue in the body. This course teaches FLSM students how to attentively listen to subtle changes in tissue and how to lengthen the fascial component of chronically shortened muscles allowing muscles to return to a relaxed state. Postural holding patterns and coordinating bodywork treatments, as well as treatment protocols for increased range of motion and ease of mobility are also discussed.

DanSe of Massage

This course is designed to teach how to integrate techniques from various modalities of massage to create a flowing dance of movement and healing through exploration and application with a client.

Elder Massage

This course focuses on treating clients over 65 years of age, with an emphasis on clients in assisted living facilities, retirement communities, and/or nursing homes. Elder Massage covers the common pathologies that massage therapists encounter with elder clients and the ways to address them. Topics include: Arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and high blood pressure. The unique logistics of working in a skilled nursing facility, such as working with a client in a wheel chair or hospital bed is also covered.

Energy Palpation and Reflexology

An introduction to the arts of polarity therapy and reflexology, in theory and practice. Additionally, this course provides an introduction into Eastern theories and Eastern approaches to bodywork and discusses the connection between the mind, the body, and the body's energy systems are discussed. Our massage school students are also taught to recognize areas of energetic deficiency and/or excess and how to improve and balance the flow of energy.

Essential Oils

Specific therapeutic essential oils that benefit both clients and massage therapists are explored in this course, with a focus on healing soft tissue injuries, increasing circulation and therapist self-care. Information is also given on the business aspect of incorporating the use of essential oils into a massage practice, identifying and buying quality supplies and using safe dilution guidelines.


In this course, the theory and practice of the therapeutic application of heat and cold is discussed, including the use of contrast applications, castor oil packs, icing, and several modes of heat administration. Integrating hydrotherapy techniques into massage practice is also discussed.

Intro to Business for Massage Therapists

Business classes are offered during the second half of the program to assist students in the basic business principles of massage, such as record-keeping, advertising and marketing, and navigating the laws of massage therapy. This knowledge is essential to the success of the professional therapist. An alumni panel offers the students a realistic view of the practice of massage from working graduates of the FLSM massage program.


This course explores the study of muscle, bone and their combined effort to create movement in the human body. Movement, in this course, is described using anatomical and mechanical principles. Students learn to employ scientific knowledge through palpation, experimentation, and massage application.

Kinesthetic Awareness through Movement (KAM)

Kinesthetic Awareness through Movement (KAM) is an exploration of the use of gentle movement techniques with an emphasis on individual joints and the connection among joints in motion.

Medical Massage

Students learn about specific musculoskeletal pathologies and the many ways to address them by integrating a variety of modalities.

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)

NMT is a directed, precise modality, focusing on specific sites of muscular irritation in order to relieve pain. These spots are often felt as “knots” in the muscles. NMT is meant to give students at Finger Lakes School of Massage a working knowledge of how to locate and treat trigger points in a variety of muscles.

Of Sound Body

This class is an introduction to healing using sound, music, tuning forks, and voice integrated into bodywork, from both a historical perspective and through practical applications.

Oncology Massage

Massage therapists will often have the opportunity and responsibility of working on clients with cancer. This class is a discussion of the benefits of that work and what the therapist needs to know to perform it safely and surely.


Pathology is an integrative modality which brings together information learned in both the science and massage classrooms. Students will learn the diseases and other health conditions which entry level massage therapists are responsible for knowing.

Pregnancy Massage

This course provides a thorough introduction to massage therapy techniques to use for pregnant clients, including considerations and contraindications, positioning, and labor support. Infant massage is also discussed.

Self-Care for Massage Therapists

Self-care is of vital importance to the health, well-being and career longevity of massage therapists. In this class, we will explore a variety of approaches to the subject, including hand care, stretching, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, and nutritional and emotional wellness.

Shiatsu 1

This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of Shiatsu practice and Traditional Chinese Medicine. This course introduces Shiatsu practice as a system of thought, treatment, and lifestyle in the context of medical intervention and healthy living. Focus will be given to Ki, Hara, Heart Exercises, Tsubo Points, and Makko Ho stretch exercises.

Shiatsu 2

In Shiatsu 2, the theories behind Shiatsu practice and Traditional Chinese Medicine are explored in greater depth. Focus will be given to the meridians and specific tsubo points. Students will also learn to incorporate the physical and psychological associations of the five elements into a shiatsu session. The principles of Ki and Hara will be further explored.

Sports Massage

Learn how to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after a big event, or stay healthy during training. Sports massage techniques are also good for clients with injuries, chronic pain, and/or restricted range of motion.

Swedish Massage

This course provides students with a working knowledge of Swedish Massage which is designed to relieve muscle aches and increase relaxation. The course will incorporate short lectures about technique, contraindications of massage, intent, communication skills, physiology, demonstrations, as well as time for students to give and receive bodywork.

Swedish Massage 2

In this advanced course, students learn how to use their bodies to minimize stress while practicing. The course will focus on reviewing techniques from Swedish I and integrating other modalities into a complete bodywork session.

Student Massage Clinic

In addition to regular classroom hours students are required to complete a clinical course which provides hands-on training in a clinical setting. Clinic sessions are staff supervised and supported. A percentage of each student's practice sessions are community service massages: students may choose among several internship options including working with hospital patients, nursing home residents, or adults with developmental disabilities. Students receive valuable feedback, keep detailed records of their work, and are assisted in reflecting upon their experience and progress. Emphasis is placed on professional preparation as students train to work in the field.


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