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Week 1: What Happens in our Massage Therapy Short-term Certificate Program?

Posted by on March 9, 2018


When people hear “short-term certificate,” it is not always clear if everyone is talking about the same thing.  The massage therapy certificate program at Minnesota School of Cosmetology is a 5-month program designed to get students trained in the skills needed to practice massage therapy.


Recently, our current class completed their first week of courses.  Our massage therapy program chairs at our Woodbury and Plymouth campuses, Denise Radcliffe and Diana Oberg, gave some insight into what our students were already doing by the end of week one.


What was the class able to start doing during week 1?


We started learning about the body- body systems, bones, endangerment sites, and how it all relates to massage.  It is very important that students begin to get an understanding of the language of the body.  We also worked on how to communicate through touch.  This is key to a massage therapist’s profession.


We spent some time on what qualities it takes to be a massage therapist and the professionalism and presentation of self.  It is very important they learn how to allow yourself to be mindful and to understand the sacred space of the table and creating a safe environment for them and their clients.  We go over the importance of proper draping.  This is key to creating a safe space and boundaries for the client.


Of course, we began learning the “chi dance” or body mechanics and utilizing your core for power.  We also started learning how to perform the first couple of massage strokes.  This allowed them to practice their mechanics at the table.

Vertebrae location

Students use stickers to identify the location of different parts of the vertebrae.

How is what they are learning in week 1 important to the rest of their training and career?


These foundational skills are critical to moving forward in the program and in being successful as a therapist. We talked a lot about how massage is an art form and how we are a complementary medicine. If they can grasp and solidify these foundational skills they will be set up to build from there.


We talk a lot about taking care of our bodies so they can perform for years to come. Most people do not know how strenuous it is to be a massage therapist. It is important to know how everything works together.  Knowing the endangerment sites helps to ensure they will safely massage each other and their clients.  We also integrate and talk about the holistic picture of what they are leaning and how it relates to their success.

Muscle fiber direction

Students draw the direction that the facial and neck muscle fibers run on a fellow student.

How do you feel week 1 went for you and your students?


Denise Radcliffe (Woodbury): “I love having them day after day.  They are living in the massage paradigm and getting to see what it takes to do massage day after day.  The total immersion of their learning is accelerating their proficiency.  One of the students commented they appreciated learning about the level of professionalism in massage therapy.”


Diana Oberg (Plymouth): “I feel like things went amazingly well.  The students have bonded and are working so well together.  They are eager to learn and have great questions (and a lot of them)! One student stated that she loves the day-long format because it is like going to a job every day and teaches them what a day could be like as a massage therapist.”


Find out more about the short-term certificate program


If you see yourself fitting into a classroom and program like this one, check out our massage therapy program at Minnesota School of Cosmetology.  We have two locations in Plymouth and Woodbury.  Next set of massage classes starts on April 2nd so set up a time today to find out more.


Contact the Plymouth campus at: 763.404.4800


Contact the Woodbury campus at: 651.287.2180


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