Course Descriptions

Our curriculum includes 600 in-class hours of supervised instruction.

Orientation – Policies & Procedures (2 hours)

Equally important to the educational process at IME is to be prepared and understand IME’s expectations. Policies that are designed to maintain a safe environment and procedures to assist the student in the process are presented and discussed. 

Student Success (4 hours)

This course addresses the unique attributes of a massage program, in general, and the specifics of IME’s massage program. Additionally, the new student is introduced to concepts and approaches that will help them be successful on the journey to becoming a professional massage therapists.

Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage (FTM-68 hours)

In this course students will develop an in depth understanding of full body relaxation massage and it’s effect on the body’s systems and functioning as well as it’s mental and emotional effects. The student will also be introduced to topics such as interviewing skills and ethics as well as how to take care of themselves as a practitioner.

Anatomy & Physiology 1 (AP1-60 hours)

This course introduces the skeletal, muscular, and the integumentary systems. This is a kinesthetic learning environment with varied hands on activities to integrate the learning including clay building of the muscles using the Maniken system.

Wellness & Nutrition (WN-20 hours)

This course is designed to give massage therapists a basic understanding of how to integrate wellness principles into their life and professional practice. Students will also explore the effects of stress on the body and ways to manage stress. The focus of this course is teaching students how to care for themselves to ensure longevity in the massage and bodywork profession.

Exploring Touch and Communication Skills (ETCS-32 hours)

This course is designed to facilitate the effectiveness of the student’s verbal and non-verbal consultation and communication skills. The student will also explore the most recent research on the effects of touch with a variety of populations. 

Adaptive Massage (ADV-52 hours)

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage

This course introduces the student to various types of massage including chair massage and reflexology as well as massage techniques for specific populations including older adults and pregnant women. All classes are held at the Institute for Massage Education at Kalamazoo Center for the Healing Arts with the exception of an off site at an area nursing home.

Anatomy & Physiology 2 (AP2-32 hours)

Prerequisite: Anatomy & Physiology 1

This course introduces students to the anatomy and physiology of the endocrine, nervous, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems through interactive lecture/discussion and hands on activities related to the massage and bodywork profession. The effects of the various systems on the human as a whole are emphasized.

Assessment, Documentation & Pathology (ADP-40 hours)

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage

Students are taught the skills necessary for effective assessment of their client to assist them in developing appropriate treatment plans based on their findings. Common pathologies are explored and client specific treatment plans are established. They also learn how to document their findings using the SOAP charting format. This course includes multiple opportunities to practice and apply the skills being learned.

Ethics (ETH-20 hours)

Prerequisite: Exploring Touch & Communication Skills

This course focuses on developing boundaries, learning how to hold to those boundaries and what ethics mean and how to apply them in the practice of massage and bodywork.

Advanced Massage (ADM–56 hours)

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage

This course continues to build on the foundation started in Basic Massage. The course covers theory and practical applications of fascial anatomy and deep tissue work. Instructional tools include lecture, experiential activities, hands-on practice of the massage and bodywork techniques as well as visual aids.

Acupressure (ACU-48 hours)

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage

The student will examine the basics of Chinese medicine, meridian channels and acupressure points. The student will demonstrate the ability to integrate this work into massage sessions.

Introduction to Business Practices (BUS Intro-16)

Prerequisite: Ethics

This course introduces students to the business of being a massage therapist. Students research possible career opportunities as a massage therapist and begin creating an ideal scene for their own practice. Students will have the opportunity to receive a professional massage in the community and to critique what worked and didn’t work in this session. Marketing strategies will be introduced and students will begin implementing these strategies for the Student Clinic.

Business Practices Application (BUSAPP-36 hours)

Prerequisite: Introduction to Business Practices

In this course students will learn effective skills to make their business development more successful. Students will have the opportunity to develop a business/career plan, do strategic planning and to do a presentation that demonstrates their mastery as a practitioner.

Kinesiology (KIN-24 hours)

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, Anatomy & Physiology 1

This course continues to go more deeply into the concepts of range of motion, tensegrity, motor unit, muscle control and trigger points that were introduced in Anatomy & Physiology 2. Students also have the opportunity to practice bodywork techniques based on proprioceptive neuromuscular concepts. Other instructional tools include interactive lectures with visual aids.

Integrative Massage (INTM-40 hours)

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage

This course involves the integration of a variety of massage and energy modalities both learned and new that can be used in creating customized treatment plans based on client needs. Emphasis is on introductory experience with CranioSacral Therapy.

Clinical Orientation (CLIN OR-12)

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, Anatomy & Physiology 2 (may run concurrent)

This course provides the foundation skills for the Clinical Experience. Students will practice implementing the basics of a clinical session including client intake, charting and use of effective body mechanics. Students will also be presented with professional draping challenges and practice draping in these instances.

Clinical Experience (CLIN-65 hours)

Prerequisite: Clinical Orientation

Building on theory and techniques learned in all previous classes, this course is an opportunity for students to provide integrative massage and bodywork sessions to the public. Students will implement plans developed for client treatments. Students are not paid for sessions given. All student fees for the Clinical Experience are covered by their tuition paid for the 600-hour program. All clinic sessions are performed at the Institute for Massage Education at Kalamazoo Center for the Healing Arts unless the student chooses to complete up to 8 hours doing IME supervised community service events.