Massage Therapy

Master the knowledge, skills and techniques needed to thrive in a career in massage therapy. A diploma in Massage Therapy gives you the opportunity to earn a competitive salary and take this valuable skill-set anywhere in the world. Whether you choose to work in a chiropractic office, sports center or on a cruise ship, our Massage Therapy program will prepare you for real-life experience.

Complete courses in Medical Terminology, Intro to Swedish Massage, Anatomy and Physiology, Kinesiology/Anatomy & Movement for Massage Therapy, Sports Massage and more. The Iowa Lakes curriculum is based on the guidelines set by the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy and the National Certification Board to meet the requirements for passing the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy licensing examinations.

The curriculum is challenging because of the emphasis on thoroughly understanding anatomy and body mechanics. Maintaining a 2.0 (or higher) GPA increases your chances of being successful in the program and passing the licensure exam.

As a licensed massage therapist, you have endless options when it comes to choosing your work setting. Start your career in massage therapy with the skills and experience of a professional.

Faculty Contact

Elizabeth Larsen
Massage Therapy Instructor
712-580-8625 Ext: 8625 | elarsen@iowalakes.educreate new email

Program Details

PROGRAM LENGTH: 3 terms

DEGREE: Diploma (39 credits)

CAMPUS: Spencer

Clinical Experience

Did You Know?

Starting Salary: $24,907

Average Salary: $40,027

Accreditation: National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)

Special Certifications Available

What you'll learn

In the Massage Therapy program at Iowa Lakes, you will learn how to:1

1.  Articulate touch as a holistic approach to healing.
2.  Relate the effects of massage therapy to indications of use as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
3.  Correlate anatomy and kinesiology of the musculoskeletal system to the practice of soft tissue manipulation.
4.  Recognize contraindications to massage and endangerment site techniques.
5.  Demonstrate knowledge of medical terms and pathology as it relates to the practice of massage.
6.  Demonstrate concepts related to massage/bodywork forms/styles, positioning and draping, with correct application.
7.  Adapt massage sessions to meet the needs of special populations.
8.  Implement information obtained during the client intake processes to client centered massage sessions.
9.  Develop interpersonal skills that are rooted in the ethical considerations of massage therapy.
10.  Recognize the importance of personal wellness to career longevity.

1The What You’ll Learn section of our website provides a description of Learning Outcomes for students who successfully complete all requirements for obtaining a Massage Therapy diploma from Iowa Lakes Community College.

Curriculum

Term 1

Credits: 4

Structure and function of the human body with emphasis on cells, tissues and all major organ systems. Anatomy and physiology are integrated at the cellular level and at the organ/system level. Lecture and laboratory.


Credits: 2

Refining of skills in reading, writing and listening as they apply to the student’s vocational needs.


Credits: 3

Studies medical terminology, including spelling and definitions.


Credits: 1

This course will provide self-care techniques to promote wellness for the Massage Therapist profession.


Credits: 3

Provides a basic foundation for the courses of study in the Mas­sage Therapy program.


Credits: 2

This course is the study of the nature and causes of disease as related to structure and functions of the body. The massage therapist focus is on maintaining health or a balanced state of physical, emotional, social well-being called homeostasis. The students will be introduced to basic pharmacology terminology with prescriptions medications, recreational drugs, herbs and natural supplements.


Credits: 1

The course provides professional massage techniques of the head, neck, shoulders, arms, back and hips of a client seated in a special designed chair for massage. The student will be trained to do a highly visible branch of professional massage, which is done in shopping malls, airports, convention centers, supermarkets, and the workplace.


Term 2

Credits: 3

Kinesiology/Anatomy and Movement for Massage Therapy is the study of how Body Movement and its relationship to the muscu­loskeletal system, its mechanical aspects, and the role it plays in the use of this knowledge for the assessment and design of intervention protocols within the scope of Massage Therapy’s practice. This course will include drawing, coloring, and identify­ing muscles and attachments of specific movements on skeletal picture packets and how it effects movement.

Prerequisites: MST 103 – Intro to Swedish Massage and BIO 163 – Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology


Credits: 3

This course will provide the skills and techniques to be used with Hydrotherapy, Hot Stone therapy, Arnomatherapy, and Spa Ther­apy. The student will be introduced to the terminology of Asian, Eastern, and Traditional Methods and Bodywork. Students will be able to recognize and locate the major meridians, understand the general characteristics of the five elements, learn the names and qualities of the seven major chakras and recognize the qualities of the three Doshas.

Prerequisites: MST 103 – Intro to Swedish Massage


Credits: 3

This course is designed to expand on skills developed in the course Introduction to Swedish Massage. Students will pair up and the classes will consist of hands on applications of body mas­sage techniques.


Credits: 2

Students will learn skills and techniques to adapt massage therapy to the needs of special populations including clients over 55, clients who are obese, clients who are children, pregnancy and infant, end of life, and clients with disabilities.

Prerequisites: MST 103 – Intro to Swedish Massage and BIO 163 – Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology


Credits: 3

This course is designed to expand on skills developed in Swedish and Intermediate Massage. Students will integrate new techniques including trigger point therapy, myofascial massage, polarity, and shiatsu in client-centered treatment planning.


Credits: 1

Students will learn employability skills while developing professional and leadership skills.  Students will create a professional portfolio, resume, and demonstrate interview skills while reviewing how to maintain their professional credential following graduation.


Term 3

Credits: 2

Students are given the opportunity to apply human relations concepts and evaluate experience and observations. Social skills required in various occupational settings will be developed, emphasizing how appropriate personal attitudes lead to social and business success.


Credits: 1

This course includes the modality pertaining to zones and reflex areas in the hands and feet.The students will study how the reflexes corresponds to distinct parts of the body.


Credits: 3

This course provides the skills and techniques to be used with athletes and individuals with sport injuries. The student will learn protocols for sports event, maintenance, and assessment using advanced techniques in neuromuscular, myofascial, lymphatic and trigger point.

Prerequisites: MST 103 – Intro to Swedish Massage


Credits: 1

This course assists students to understand and apply the Stan­dards of Practice established by professional massage organiza­tions. The course emphasizes ethical behavior in the massage therapy profession and teaches students to establish professional boundaries and acceptable standards of documentation.


Credits: 1

This course is designed for classroom lab supervised practical experiences in body massages application. The students will set up appointments for outside individuals to apply techniques for full body massages.