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This post is part of a series on Frequently Asked Questions that I hear from my clients or friends.  If you have any other particular questions about the massage experience, always feel free to reach out!


When I attended 2010 – 2012, the NY state massage therapy education at The Swedish Institute included:
Anatomy and physiology: what the human body is made up of and how its different systems function, according to modern science.
Kinesiology: how humans move, which muscles move which joints in which ways, how far those joints usually move in a healthy adult.
Neurology: the physiology of the brain, and how it informs massage therapy.
Western massage history, theory, and methods.
Eastern bodywork history, philosophy, theory, and methods.
Pathology: what are the common injuries and health conditions we will encounter, know when to refer out to an MD, when in the stage of a condition is massage appropriate, how to work with all the different conditions where massage is indicated.  Medications for common health conditions, and the potential side-effects relevant to performing a massage treatment.
First Aid/CPR/Infection control
Research literacy: how to read a scientific paper, how to assess the value and importance of a scientific paper, where to find new scientific literature as it comes out.
Clinical experience: hygiene, communication, record-taking and methods practiced by working on other students and members of the public, both off-site and in the school’s clinic
Functional tests: a full range of assessments and special tests to direct further inquiry and rule out certain conditions, and potentially to refer the client out to an MD if needed
Professionalism: how to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with a client, and to watch out for when those are in danger of being crossed.  This keeps both us and the client safe, and maintains a therapeutic relationship.  How to communicate through challenging situations that sometimes arise in a massage practice.

Do you think there are other subjects that would benefit your massage therapist to know, based on your experiences?  (Off the top of my head, pain science is a big one that is missing from our current curriculum.)

Read more in my Frequently Asked Questions blog series:

Can I talk during a therapeutic massage?
Will I be in pain during a therapeutic massage?
How should I feel after a therapeutic massage?
What is chair massage?
Do I need to be naked during a therapeutic massage?
What to expect in a professional massage?
What is a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT)?
What is a scope of practice? What is yours as an LMT?
What kind of massage do you do?
What kind of music do you play during a massage?
Should I give you a tip after the massage?

FAQ – What do you learn in Massage School?

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