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Health & Fitness Programs ►Therapeutic Massage Professional Certificate Program with Externship


Program includes National Certification & an Externship Opportunity



The Therapeutic Massage Professional

Massage therapists treat clients by using touch to manipulate the soft-tissues of the body. With their touch, therapists relieve pain, help rehabilitate injuries, improve circulation, relieve stress, increase relaxation, and aid in the general wellness of clients. In today’s industry of massage therapy, it is more important than ever to have knowledge and skills necessary for a successful career. There are a wide range of opportunities available in today’s spa environment, and there are many potential business relationships that will be encountered throughout a typical career


The Therapeutic Massage Professional Program

This program provides an overview of the theoretical principles for common massage therapy systems and manual techniques, as well as the historical influences from a variety of cultures in order to best understand the massage therapy industry and profession today. In addition, the course overviews selected major cautions and contraindications for giving massage, as well as the effects and benefits of proper massage therapy treatments. The program offers fundamental knowledge along ethical and professional boundaries and serves to introduce both the theoretical basis as well as the demonstration of fundamental manual techniques in the traditional discipline of Western Massage (i.e. Swedish massage), and the contemporary systems of Myofascial Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, and Reflexology. Additionally, this program also offers a well-organized study of the bones, joints, and muscles, all presented in a specific order that reflects the Ida P. Rolf method for developing structural integrity of the myofascial systems in the body including palpation exercises to help you become comfortable with locating bony landmarks and exploring joint structures and motions, as well as learning the locations, actions, and trigger points of the muscles.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, students will:

  • Explain the effects, benefits and clinical applications of massage.
  • Explain contraindications and endangerment sites common to massage therapy
  • Understand the principles and techniques used in Western Massage Therapy.
  • Understand the principles of joint range of motion and explain the various techniques used to optimize joint mobility and range of motion.
  • Understand the principles of Myofascial Massage and explain the basic manual techniques used to treat the myofascial system.
  • Understand the basic physiology of trigger points, and explain the manual techniques used to treat trigger points as a massage therapist.
  • Understand the principles of Reflexology and explain the basic techniques used to treat the various systems of the body with the application of manual reflexology methods.
  • Identify and differentiate tissue layers.
  • Demonstrate the palpation of tissue layers and describe the quality of touch by layer.
  • Identify bony landmarks, origins and insertions, and action of skeletal muscles.
  • Demonstrate the palpation of bony landmarks and skeletal muscles
  • Demonstrate knowledge of what joint actions each muscle generates.
  • Use Microsoft Office

HISTORY AND PERSPECTIVE OF MASSAGE THERAPY

  • Describe massage in the context of a natural healing art, and understand the traditional influences that helped to shape today's massage therapy profession.
  • Define massage and describe fundamental massage techniques commonly used.
  • Explain the concept of wellness, and understand how massage therapy is complimentary to Western medicine.
  • Comprehend the basic terminology used to describe the various types of massage styles and techniques commonly used.

THE BENEFITS AND APPLICATIONS OF MASSAGE

  • Explain the various massage techniques and the effects they have on the body, mind, and emotions.
  • Identify how and when massage therapy fits into the healing process of tissue repair.
  • Explain the primary effects that massage has on each of the body systems, and on the organism level overall.
  • Explain how massage therapy is used in treating human pathologies.
  • Understand how research literacy and the evidence-based practice is important for the massage therapy profession.
  • Explain the basic massage applications for each system of the body, and how massage is used to compliment standard medical treatment in hospitals and nursing homes.

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND MASSAGE GUIDELINES

  • Describe the major endangerment sites of the body, which require knowledge and caution to avoid injury during massage.
  • Explain the principles for general, regional, and local contraindications for massage.
  • Explain the common medications and understand the implications for giving massage to medicated clients.
  • Describe the major components for maintaining a professional presence, including sanitation and hand washing practices.
  • Explain the primary considerations for self-care as a massage therapist.
  • Describe the primary elements of massage applications, including topical substances, proper draping, safety and comfort of the client, and use of techniques.
  • Explain the paramount ethical and moral considerations for the professional of massage therapy, and confidentiality as a client’s right to privacy.

WESTERN MASSAGE TECHNIQUES & JOINT MOVEMENTS

  • Identify the primary manual techniques used in Western Massage, and the variations for each
  • Describe the variations of each of the primary western massage techniques, and how they can provide specific effects
  • Understand how to use western massage techniques appropriately in a session
  • Distinguish between active and passive movements, joint mobilization techniques, and stretching
  • Explain the therapeutic benefits of massage
  • Understand the application of mobilizing and stretching techniques for different joints and areas of the body, as well as the guidelines for applying joint movements

CONTEMPORARY MASSAGE AND BODYWORK

  • Identify three contemporary massage and bodywork systems that are popular within the industry
  • Explain the basic history and physiological basis of myofascial massage
  • Identify the primary guidelines, contraindications, and basic myofascial techniques used
  • Explain the basic history and physiological basis of trigger point therapy
  • Explain how to locate trigger points, and how they can radiate pain in predictable patterns
  • Identify the primary deactivation techniques used to treat trigger points
  • Explain the basic history and energetic basis of reflexology
  • Explain zone therapy and the guidelines in giving reflexology sessions, including positioning the receiver and body mechanic considerations for the therapist
  • Identify the primary foot reflexology techniques

BONY LANDMARKS AND MUSCLES OF RESPIRATION

  • Identify the three main functions of the thorax and primary function of respiration.
  • List the bones and bony landmarks of the thorax, and demonstrate how to palpate them.
  • Identify the four major joints of the thorax and describe their locations.
  • Define and describe a rib separation and a rib dislocation.
  • Identify and describe two types of rib motion.
  • Identify the two primary muscles of respiration and the motion that they generate.
  • Define intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and describe its role in respiration.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of the primary respiratory muscles.
  • Demonstrate the active movement and palpation of each primary respiratory muscle.
  • Identify the trigger points and pain referral patterns of the primary respiratory muscles.
  • Describe and demonstrate the postural patterns of inhalation and exhalation fixations, paradoxical/upper chest breathing, and belly breathing.
  • Define chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and name three types.
  • Define hyperventilation. Describe its symptoms and what to do when it occurs.

BONY LANDMARKS AND MUSCLES OF THE ANKLE AND FOOT

  • Name the 28 bones in the ankle and foot and describe the shape and location of each one.
  • Name three functional parts of the foot and the bones in each part.
  • List and demonstrate the palpation of seven bony landmarks of the ankle and foot.
  • List the major ligaments of the ankle and foot and describe their locations and functions.
  • List the three arches of the feet, identify their functions, and describe each one.
  • Name and describe five major ligaments that support the vault of the arches.
  • List the eight major joints of the foot and describe the structure and function of each one.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of extrinsic muscles of the ankle and foot.
  • Identify trigger points and pain referral patterns of extrinsic muscles of the ankle and foot.
  • Demonstrate the active movement and palpation of each extrinsic ankle and foot muscle.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of intrinsic muscles of the ankle and foot.
  • Identify trigger points and pain referral patterns of intrinsic muscles of the ankle and foot.
  • Demonstrate the active movement and palpation of each intrinsic muscle of the foot.

BONY LANDMARKS AND MUSCLES OF THE KNEE

  • Name the three bones of the knee.
  • List and demonstrate the palpation of 10 bony landmarks of the knee.
  • Describe the menisci and bursae in the knee.
  • Name and describe the two joints of the knee and seven supporting ligaments.
  • Describe patellar movement and problems that occur with poor patellar tracking.
  • Define the mechanical axis of the lower limb and the Q angle.
  • Describe the range of motion and joint mechanics of the tibiofemoral joint.
  • Name types of misalignments in the knee and describe the structural problems they cause.
  • Define and contrast axial rotation and terminal rotation of the knee.
  • Demonstrate the palpation of the menisci and prepatellar bursa of the knee.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of the knee flexors and extensors.
  • Identify the trigger points and pain referral patterns of the knee flexors and extensors.
  • Demonstrate the active movement and palpation of the knee flexors and extensors.

BONY LANDMARKS AND MUSCLES OF THE HIP AND PELVIS

  • Name the four bones of the hips and pelvis.
  • List and demonstrate the palpation of 14 bony landmarks of the hips and pelvis.
  • Describe the coxofemoral joint, its range of motion, and its supporting ligaments.
  • Describe the two femoral inclinations and how the shape of the femur creates each one.
  • Describe six ways the hip can move at the pelvis and six ways the pelvis can move on the femur.
  • Name three pelvic joints, their functions and classifications, and their ranges of motion.
  • Name and discuss four common hip problems.
  • Define the lumbar pelvic rhythm and describe efficient and inefficient rhythms.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of the muscles of the hips and pelvis.
  • Identify the trigger points and pain referral patterns of the muscles of the hips and pelvis.
  • Demonstrate the active movement and palpation of each muscle of the hips and pelvis.
  • Identify three perineal muscles and describe their general locations and functions.
  • Discuss the postural patterns that occur with chronically tight hamstrings or quadriceps.

BONY LANDMARKS AND MUSCLES OF THE SPINE

  • List the three parts of the spine and the number of vertebrae in each part.
  • Define and contrast kyphotic and lordotic curves and identify their locations in the spine.
  • Name and describe the typical features of a vertebra.
  • Demonstrate palpation of the spinal curves, spinous processes, and the lamina groove.
  • Name and describe the two types of spinal joints and their supporting ligaments.
  • Identify the normal range of motion in each part of the spine.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of the three layers of posterior spinal muscles.
  • Demonstrate the active movement and palpation of each posterior spinal muscle.
  • Identify the trigger points and pain referral patterns of the posterior spinal muscles.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of the abdominal muscles.
  • Demonstrate the active movement and palpation of each abdominal muscle.
  • Identify the trigger points and pain referral patterns of the abdominal muscles.

BONY LANDMARKS AND MUSCLES OF THE HEAD AND NECK

  • List eight cranial bones and 14 facial bones and describe the location of each one.
  • Name and describe three cartilaginous structures of the head and neck.
  • Describe the structure and function of the hyoid bone.
  • Demonstrate palpation of cranial and facial bones and miscellaneous structures of the neck.
  • List four cranial sutures, describe their locations, and demonstrate palpation of each one.
  • Describe the structure of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and its range of motion.
  • Describe the atlanto-axial and atlanto-occipital joints and their range of motion.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of the muscles of the head and neck.
  • Demonstrate the active movement and palpation of each muscle of the head and neck.
  • Identify the trigger points and pain referral patterns of the muscles of the head and neck.
  • Discuss the role of the facial muscles in emotional expression and describe each one

BONY LANDMARKS AND MUSCLES OF THE SHOULDER GIRDLE

  • List and describe the bony landmarks on the four bones making up the shoulder girdle.
  • Demonstrate the palpation of the bony landmarks of the shoulder girdle.
  • List four joints in the shoulder girdle and their classifications and range of motion.
  • Name the major ligaments of the shoulder girdle and the location and function of each one.
  • Describe and contrast two injuries: a shoulder dislocation and a shoulder separation.
  • Describe the structure and function of the coracoacromial arch.
  • Describe the neutral position of the shoulder girdle and the criteria for scapula neutral.
  • Define scaption and describe how it relates to efficient arm movement.
  • Define and describe the scapulohumeral rhythm.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of the muscles of the scapula and shoulder.
  • Identify trigger point locations and pain referral patterns for scapula and shoulder muscles.
  • Demonstrate the active movement and palpation of each scapula and shoulder muscles

BONY LANDMARKS AND MUSCLES OF THE ARM AND HAND

  • Name and describe the three bones in the arm and the eight carpals, five metacarpals, and 14 phalanges of the wrist and hand.
  • Demonstrate the palpation of bony landmarks and primary movements of the arm and hand.
  • Name the origins, insertions, and actions of the major ligaments of the elbow, wrist, and hand.
  • List the four joints of the elbow and describe the structure and function of each one.
  • List the seven types of joints in the wrist and hand and describe the structure and function of each one.
  • Define supination and pronation and name the muscles that generate each action.
  • Demonstrate the four passive movement ranges for the wrist.
  • Describe the three arches and two general types of grips of the hand.
  • Define the carpal tunnel and list the structures passing through it.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of the muscles acting on the elbow and their trigger points.
  • Demonstrate the palpation of and resisted movement for each one.
  • Identify the origins, insertions, and actions of the muscles acting on the wrist and hand and their trigger points.
  • Demonstrate the active movement of and palpation of each one.

Note: This program can be completed in 6 months. However, students will have online access to this program for a 24-month period.

Education and National Certifications

  • Students should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.
  • There are no state approval and/or state requirements associated with this program.
  • There is a National Certification exam available to students who successfully complete this program:
    • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification Exam.

National Certification

Upon successful completion of this Auburn University program, students would be eligible to sit for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam. Although there are no state approval, state registration or other state requirements for this program, students who complete this program at Auburn University will be prepared and are eligible to sit for this national certification exam. Students who complete this program are encouraged to complete the externship option with their program. Students who complete this program can and do sit for the MOS national certification exams and are qualified, eligible and prepared to do so. Auburn University works with each student to complete the exam application and register the student to take their national certification exam.


Externship / Hands on Training / Practicum

Although not a requirement, once students complete the program, they have the ability to participate in an externship and/or hands on practicum so as to practice the skills necessary to perform the job requirements of a professional in this field. Students will be assisted with completing a resume and/or other requirements necessary to work in this field. All students who complete this program are eligible to participate in an externship and will be placed with a participating organization near their location. Auburn University works with national organizations and has the ability to place students in externship opportunities nationwide.