Massage therapists provide physical manipulation of soft tissues and superficial muscles to relieve stress and muscle tension. In order to practice massage therapy for a living, individuals need to be licensed, certified and/or registered within their state. Voluntary national certification is administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Continuing education (CE) is usually required by states for licensure or certification renewal, and many fully online courses fulfilling CE requirements are available for practicing therapists. In addition to having an updated computer and Internet access, students may also need to purchase their own massage equipment and supplies for self-practice. If enrolled in hybrid courses, massage therapy students may need to be on-campus periodically for practical training and evaluation.
Online Massage Therapy Courses
Below are some of the commonly offered online massage therapy courses.
- Anatomy and Physiology Course: Massage therapists need a firm understanding of the body systems and how massage affects not only muscles, but also bones, joints and circulation. In this course, students learn how massage therapy can be used to alleviate physical pain and prevent future injury or disease. Students are taught how massage techniques can benefit the body, improve immune system defenses and facilitate digestion and circulation.
- Swedish Massage Course: In this course, students learn the foundational massage style of Swedish massage, which implements long strokes using oils. Other massage approaches based upon Swedish techniques, such as deep tissue, hot stone and prenatal, are also taught and practiced. The online course commonly uses videos and photographic manuals to show students how to perform the proper techniques.
- Sports Massage Course: Students learn a variety of sports massage styles that incorporate stretching to help athletes' recovery and performance. The ways massage affects organ systems, from the skin to muscular systems, is discussed. Swedish massage techniques, which are commonly used in sports massage, are built upon in this course. Online versions of the course typically utilize videos that demonstrate massage techniques, and students may be encouraged to practice at home with a volunteer.
- Energy Techniques Course: Holistic traditional Chinese medicine philosophies and practices are learned in this online course, which typically uses a video format. Students study various energy techniques, including information on how to use chi to balance the body and various acupressure points. Swedish massage techniques, which incorporate many movements integrated into personalized massage styles, are further discussed and practiced. Bones, joints and muscles are identified.
- Hand & Foot Reflexology Course: Students are educated about the fundamental basics of hand and foot reflexology, a treatment option which involves applying pressure therapy to reflex points located on the hands and feet. They also learn the reflex zones that correspond to different parts of the body. This treatment may not only aid the body and mind in becoming deeply relaxed, it may also promote healthy sleep patterns and overall well-being.