Massage Theory and Practice for Massage School Students

massage theory and practice

Massage Theory and Practice

The History of the Massage Profession:

Big Chart on the different types of massage

Palpation Skills for Massage Therapists

Learning to Touch

Massage Oils – Properties and Uses of popular types of massage oils.

Massage Theory Curriculum Reccomendations

ELAP Recommendation:- 7 hours  of instruction on massage benefits and effects, the learner isexpected to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the terms and concepts related to massage benefits and effects including differentiation of the types of benefits and effects; physiological, psychological, and energetic benefits and effects; and massage indications on a written examination.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the physiological and psychological mechanisms underpinning massage as an effective stress reduction and stress management strategy on a written examination.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the physiological and psychological mechanisms underpinning massage as an effective pain reduction and pain management strategy on a written examination.

Best Massage Theory and Practice Text Books

Swedish Massage





Swedish Massage Strokes – Chart

 Contraindications  5.5hours of instruction on massage cautions and contraindications

 Endangerment areas

Glossary of Terms of Swedish Massage

  Test Questions

Sports Massage – Principles of Sports Massage

Pre-event/post event/training massage

      Sports Massage Strokes

Deep Tissue Massage

Injury/Clinical massage


Back Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome



Plantar Fasciitis




Shin Splints

Muscle Spasms

Sleep Disorders

Strains and Sprains


Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome


Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy Massage – Benefits of Massage and Stages of Pregnancy

Pregnancy Massage Contraindications and Warnings

Pregnancy Massage – Physiological Changes – Chart

Pregnancy Massage Resources – Free Online Articles,  Books/DVD’s,  Classes

See also Pathology for Massage Therapists

Massage Theory Outline for massage therapy school

I. General History of Massage

II. Equipment, facilities and supplies

III. Practitioner self-care

A. Body Mechanics

B. Meditation

C. Hygiene

IV. Massage Procedures

A. Assess/determine clients needs

1. Interview –obtain client history

2. Observation-postural assessment

3. Palpation

4. Range of motion and strength testing

5. Establish goals and plan

B. Client positioning/supports

C. Draping and turning

V. Triggerpoint therapy

A. Causes and effects of triggerpoints

B. Basic alignment

C. Body reading

D. Integration of structure and function

E. Effects of Gravity

F. Effective and appropriate responses to clients needs

VI. Basic Massage techniques-techniques and effects of each stroke

A. Demonstrate general techniques and identify physiological effects

1. Effleurage/Gliding

2. Kneading

3. Compressions/friction

4. Percussion

5. Vibration/jostling

6. Range of motion/remedials and movements

B. Integration of strokes, modalities and intent(pressure, rhythm, contact, pacing, and transitions)

C. Identify major modalities

1. Swedish

2. Deep tissue techniques/myofacial

3. Energy techniques

4. Triggerpoints/tender points

5. Reflexive/zone

6. Oriental/eastern

7. Lymphatic/circulatory

8. Neuromuscular re-education/body awareness

9. Other- Zentherapy, Feldenkrais, Rolfing, Hellerwork, Soma,

VII. Hydrotherapy

A. Introduction to hydrotherapy

1. Define basic terminology

2. Identify properties of water

3. Define and identify physiological effects of hot and cold

a. Local, systemic, and reflexive effect

b. Indications and contraindications

B. Demonstrate hydrotherapy techniques and procedures

1. Cold applications and equipment

2. Hot applications and equipment

3. Hydrotherapy Baths and Poultices

C. Hydrotherapy relative to stages of healing and massage modality

VIII. Impact of Massage on health and pathologies

A. Applications of techniques and modalities based on desired physiological effects

B. Selection of relevant techniques and modalities based on pathophysiology, indications and contraindications