Center for Integrative Health Sciences

Manual Therapies Diploma

program outline

Semester 1 (14 credits)

Introduction to Manual Therapy (3 credits)

This course will introduce the anatomical and physiological sciences behind manual therapies. The relationship between the neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems will be examined, to prepare future practitioners to understand the tissue reaction resulting from manual therapy. The history and scientific method of manual therapies will also be explored to gain better understanding of how different tissues are impacted by these treatments.

Introduction to Manual Therapies Lab (2 credits)

This course will introduce the five primary strokes involved in manual therapy, how to utilize each to the tissue’s best advantage, and how to observe and interpret the tissue’s reaction to the therapy. Material will cover safe applications for both the provider and patient, from basic techniques to advanced modalities. The role and responsibilities of the practitioner will also be developed and practiced.

Anatomy and Physiology I (4 credits)

This course focuses on the structural and functional systems of the human body, including the neurological system, muscular system, and skeletal system, with bones and articulations. These systems and their basic metabolic needs will be examined in depth, and special emphasis will be placed on the divisions of the neurological system. The course will also include laboratory activities to reinforce lecture information.

Introduction to Medical Terminology (2 credits)

This course explores the etymology of medical terminology, examining the meaning behind the prefixes, suffixes, root words, and common conjunctures that comprise this fascinating language. Students will emerge from this course with a solid grasp of the common terms for anatomical structures, diagnoses, diseases, and treatments that are essential for communicating in the culture of the medical field.


Semester 2 (12 credits)

Integrated Therapies (3 credits)

This course provides an in depth exploration of the science behind specific case studies of medical traditions outside of traditional Western Medicine, including Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, and other integrative therapies. This exploration of these medical sciences, in conjunction with the principle manual therapies, will provide students with the insight to determine the best paths of treatment for patients.

Integrated Therapies Lab (4 credits)

This course is designed as an introduction to manual therapy routines that integrate elements of Eastern, Ayurvedic, and other integrated modalities, and an opportunity to put those routines into practice. The history, evolution, and theory of each modality will be examined. Students will be given opportunities to both to give and receive massage routines designed around these specific modalities, leading to communication activities and dialogue about their experience. Application of these techniques will be discussed, practiced, and evaluated.

Introduction to Kinesiology (5 credits)

This class will cover the basics of movement analysis through an examination of the neuromuscular control mechanisms of the body. The body’s lever systems, balance mechanisms, and stability requirements will be examined through sport, physical activity, and the common movements of daily life. Particular focus will be placed on the body’s basic structural components and the relationship between movement and balance/stability. Students will meet once a week for a two hour lab which will center around exploring the lecture material and examining case studies. These labs will include discussions about how the application of manual therapies can be used to address physical issues. The culminating activity of the course will be the development of a case study research proposal.


Semester 3 (13 credits)

Massage Business Practices (3 credits)

Exploration into the historical aspects of manual therapies will serve as the launching pad for discussions on the future of soft tissue manipulation techniques.  The purpose of this course is to identify key ideas and other factors that have helped to shaped the current practices of manual therapy and the different professions that utilize aspects of soft tissue manipulation. Different business and professional employment options will be analyzed, leading to discussions about the direction a therapist might want to go with their career and how their options might be affected by the level and focus of their education. Common forms of business communication will be practiced and refined for use in different professional settings. A functioning business plan will be researched and developed as the culmination of the course requirements.

Pathology (6 credits)

This course centers around the study of the functional and structural changes in the body that are caused by disease. The primary focus of the course will be on preparing students to be able to effectively investigate the etiology and level of structural change in a variety of cases, and to determine what response from health care professionals would be appropriate, and/or to determine when and how the application of manual therapy techniques would be appropriate.

Specialty Techniques Lab (4 credits)

This course will engage students in supervised hands on experience that is designed to provide training and practical application in certain specific advanced manual therapy techniques. It will involve detailed, step-by-step explanations both of the techniques and of their proper application. Particular focus will be placed on the science of table and body mechanics, the classification of each unique movement, and on strategies to adapt these techniques to the specific needs of clients. Appropriate medical documentation for specialty massage treatments, record keeping practices, and client management strategies will also be covered in detail.


Semester 4 (12 credits)

Clinic (8 credits)

Student Clinic Internships provide students the opportunity to apply what they have learned over the course of the program in practical real life settings. New advanced techniques will be introduced, and students will have the chance to put these newly learned techniques into practice by performing actual massages on actual clients. Students will practice assessment and treatment skills, learning how to customize each massage experience based on the client’s unique history and specific areas of concern. Students will also put into practice what they have learned about medical documentation and record keeping for manual therapy treatments.

Exam Preparation (3 credits)

This course provides a review of the cumulative curriculum of the entire program, and will be divided into sections for review and test taking practice. The goal is to prepare students for the successful completion of the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx). Assignments, quizzes, and tests will be modeled after the information and format of MBLEx. Application submission will be completed. National Board Certification advantages and application processes will also be discussed.

First aid/CPR (1 credit)

Health Care Provider level first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will be explained, practiced, and tested. The purpose for, and the application of automated external defibrillators will be covered, along with basic triage and first aid for common injuries. The course will culminate in full First Aid/CPR certification for each student.