School of Massage
& Holistic Health
|Find yourself at Solidago.|
Curriculum & Courses
Solidago has created an integrative, intuitive approach to massage education.
The Basic Certification in Massage and Bodywork consists of 675 hours of hands-on classes, academic classes, and practicum. The courses are taught from an interdisciplinary perspective interwoven with major themes. In this way, the students are exposed to portions of each major class throughout the program. The curriculum is specifically designed for students who have busy lives, yet it is important to note that for every "in class" hour, you will be using at least one and a half out-of-class hours for homework, projects, general study, and massage practice.
Basic Training Program
The Basic Training Program is offered in several different schedule formats. Upon completing the program, students will be able to apply to take their National Exam and obtain work in many towns and states. Please check the licensing requirements for the town or state where you would like to be employed.
The well-rounded 675-hour program covers massage theory, technique, ethics, communication and business skills, and career opportunities. In addition, we stress the various aspects of wellness and self-care that can ensure our own successful practices. All students may increase the number of hours in their program by taking elective classes at Solidago or other schools. For those students who are pursuing licensing in another state, we will assist you in choosing the most applicable electives to meet the requirements of that state.
As part of our innovative curriculum, we include experiential introductions to particular aspects of holistic modalities. Examples of this training include (but are not limited to):
- Tai-Chi - to improve your posture and energy when giving a massage
· Hatha Yoga - to teach you breathing and stretching
· Meditation - to encourage focus
· Strength Training - to teach strengthening of the muscles needed for full-time massage work
· Feldenkrais Movement Therapy - to enhance mind-body coordination, posture, and increase energy
Classes of the Basic Training (675-hour training)
|Massage Skills (Hands-on Classroom Hours)||147 Hours|
|Practicum (Practice Hours, Graded Massages, Clinic Hours)||135 Hours|
|Massage Theory||16 Hours|
|Theories of Holistic Wellness||17 Hours|
|Client Relations and Communications||12 Hours|
|Anatomy, Physiology, & Pathology||181 Hours|
|Business Skills||33 Hours|
|Allied Modalities||27 Hours|
|Assessment Skills||20 Hours|
|Special Populations||24 Hours|
|Oriental Theory||18 Hours|
These classes are divided into three trimesters. While the exact content of each trimester may vary slightly between groups, the general outline of each trimester is listed below: Back to top
The trimester system at Solidago allows for an evenly-paced education to ensure integration and success.
The First Trimester
Your massage training begins with learning seated massage - a fully clothed type of massage that is easy to practice on friends and family. Students move on to learn all eight basic massage strokes and integrate them into a full body relaxation massage. We will then focus on learning specific strokes for each part of the body.
Topics include: The Art of Touch, Seated Massage, Massage Equipment, Hygiene and Safety, Interviewing Clients, Full Body Relaxation Massage, Posture and Body Mechanics of the Massage Therapist, Introduction to Basic Terms and Concepts in Anatomy and Physiology, Basic Structure and Function of All Body Systems, Ethical Principals and How They Apply to Your Practice Hours, Tai Chi, and Energetic Principles of the Body.
- Massage Skills - 56 hours
- Practicum - 31 hours
- Supervision - 7 hours
- Massage Theory - 7 hours
- Holistic Wellness - 10 hours
- Client Relations/Communications - 10 hours
- Ethics - 11 hours
- Anatomy & Physiology - 74 hours
- Business Skills - 10 hours
- Allied Modalities - 9 hours
*Please note that the exact division of hours per trimester may vary slightly.
The Second Trimester
Students begin work in the student clinic. The clinic is held at the Amesbury Center for Healing, which is located in the same building as the school. This gives students the opportunity to work in a real-life professional setting while honing their relaxation massage skills and integrating new techniques they are learning in the classroom. The curriculum focuses on learning deeper and more advanced techniques of muscle release while investigating the muscular structure of the body. Understanding how and why the techniques work to release the muscles requires a strong understanding of the relationship between the muscle and nervous systems of the body. Students will continue to focus on body mechanics and explore the client/practitioner relationship. Students will also have the opportunity to focus on a related topic of their choice as they pursue their independent research project.
Topics include: Sports Massage, Stretching, Trigger Points, Joint Mobilization, Client Relations and Communications, Kinesiology, Pathology of the Skeletal, Muscle, and Nervous Systems, and Oriental Theory.
- Massage Skills - 56 hours
- Practicum - 48 hours
- Supervision - 5 hours
- Massage Theory - 9 hours
- Holistic Wellness - 7 hours
- Client Relations/Communications - 2 hours
- Ethics - 6 hours
- Anatomy & Physiology - 56 hours
- Business Skills - 8 hours
- Allied Modalities - 8 hours
- Oriental Theory - 18 hours
*Please note that the exact division of hours per trimester may vary slightly.
The Third Trimester
The last portion of the program provides an opportunity to complete student clinic work as students begin their Case Study Project. The Case Study Project is an opportunity to apply the more advanced techniques learned in the second trimester to a client with injury or chronic pain. In conjunction with courses in Assessment and Supervision, the Case Study allows the student to develop, follow, and reassess a treatment plan and see the results of their work. Students will also be taught how to keep accurate records for use in a medical environment. During this section of training, students also study business skills and create a complete business plan to prepare them in setting up their own business or working as an employee or independent contractor.
Topics include: The Art of Touch, Positional Release Techniques, Muscle Energy Techniques, Client Assessment and Case Study, Working with Special Populations, Supervision, Setting up an Independent Practice, Marketing, Taxes, Retirement Planning, and Reviewing for the National Exam.
- Massage Skills - 35 hours
- Practicum - 48 hours
- Supervision - 8 hours
- Assessment Skills - 20 hours
- Holistic Wellness - 7 hours
- Ethics - 5 hours
- Anatomy & Physiology - 51 hours
- Business Skills - 15 hours
- Allied Modalities - 10 hours
- Special Populations - 24 hours
*Please note that the exact division of hours per trimester may vary slightly. Back to top
- Seated Massage
- Intuitive Relaxation Massage
Beginning with an introduction to touch, the class then introduces the students to compression, a stroke that can be done with the clients fully clothed in a seated or recumbent position. Students go on to learn various draping techniques and then begin to practice other basic massage strokes for the full body using oils. Students will learn to feel the difference in the textures of healthy muscle tone, ischemic muscle tissue, adhesions, and fascial tension.
- Advanced Skills
Having mastered the basic full body massage skills, you will delve more deeply into the methods of soft tissue release. Topics include: pre- and post-event strokes for athletes, listening to the client's body to gauge the depth of your strokes, separating the fibers of the superficial tissue to work on the underlying musculature, finding and releasing trigger points, and myofascial release of major joints of the spine and extremities
This course covers the history of massage and related modalities, benefits and contraindications of massage, as well as professionalism, legal issues, and research in the industry today. Other topics include safety and hygiene requirements, treatment room setup and clean up, office safety, laundry, appointment booking, and basic record keeping.
Massage is practiced in the school’s clinic as well as outside of the school. The massage recipient provides feedback on each session through a written evaluation form. Individual and group supervision is provided throughout the practicum to support and challenge each student. Supervision helps to develop healthy client/practitioner boundaries, professional ethics, and treatment planning. It consists of discussions with different instructors around issues you encounter during your practicum hours.
- Personal Practice Hours (off-site) - 40 hours
- Clinic Hours (on site) - 65 hours
- Case Study - 15 hours
- Feedback Massages - 2 hours
- Grading Massages - 7 hours
- Receiving Professional Massages - 6 hours
Students are required to receive six massages from six different practitioners who have attended six different massage schools. In addition to receiving the massage, you will write an evaluation of the massage and office environment, as well as interview three of these therapists regarding their experience in the field.
Theories of Holistic Wellness
This is an introduction to the basic concepts of holistic thinking. In the first part of the class, you explore your own wellness and life balance. The next section studies the history and theory of massage and related modalities. The class then studies other holistic methods that complement massage and support general wellness. This class discusses the potential for emotional and financial “burn-out” and each student creates a self-care plan to avoid these career pitfalls.
Client Relations and Communications
Working hand-in-hand with the Ethics and Supervision classes, this course will cover various styles of communications. Students will learn how the roles of mood, projection, and perception affect the elements of clear communication. We will explore different methods of working with various personalities.
The impact of emotion on a caretaker is discussed in relation to professional boundaries and responsibility. This class explains how transference, counter-transference, unmet needs, and previous family dynamics can unconsciously infiltrate the relationship between therapist and client.
Anatomy & Physiology
- General Systems - 55 hours
- Pathology - 43 hours
- Kinesiology - 83 hours
You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the structure, function, movement, health, and disease of the human body. Contagious pathology, including blood-borne pathogens, is stressed. While predominately a lecture-based course, the lab work includes hands-on study of bones and muscles, as well as the use of video and computer learning tools, and Maniken® clay models.
Business Skills for a Successful Life
Where can I work? How do I get the job? Which job is right for me? This class answers these questions and many more. Career opportunities, business ethics, accounting and record keeping, tax law, and planning for retirement are studied. Since many massage practitioners work as independent contractors or sole proprietors, the expenses of being self-employed such as health insurance, self-employment taxes, and retirement planning are discussed. Students will create their own business plans as they explore mission statements, start-up costs, monthly overhead, and marketing.
Through readings, guest speakers, and experiential exercises, students will learn about other forms of holistic wellness and bodywork therapies. While stressing self-care and balance for the bodyworker, the students will also learn how to create the most effective treatment plan possible by knowledgably referring clients to other modalities. Experiential topics may include, but are not limited to, Tai Chi, yoga, meditation, strength training, and nutrition.
Students will be introduced to the skills needed to analyze a client’s body structure and uncover neuromuscular holding patterns. Each student will select a case study participant and begin this ten-week assignment. Beginning with charting the participant’s current condition based on symptoms, range of motion, body structure, and palpation of the soft tissues, the students will develop and implement a treatment plan under the supervision of the instructor. In addition, they will learn the physical and mental effects that chronic pain can have in perpetuating the pain cycle. We will examine the interrelationships of old injuries, daily biomechanical habits, and thought processes that can create an unconscious propagation of chronic pain.
In this class you are introduced to a completely different basis of health and wellness that has been practiced in the Far East for thousands of years. The five elements, twelve major meridians, and theory of energy medicine are introduced and discussed.
This class focuses on learning the skills needed to work with clients who are pregnant, elderly, disabled and those with abusive or traumatic backgrounds. Students will be introduced to the special considerations that these populations present and taught communication skills and massage techniques that will accommodate this clientele.
Research Project and Presentation
The Research Project is started and completed during the students’ second trimester. Students can select 3 different options which vary the length of the oral versus written aspects of the presentation. This is a special opportunity for the student to explore and area of holistic health in an in-depth way. Class presentations are a fun way for the other class members to explore an assortment of topics. All topics must be approved by the director of the school.
Book & Materials List
|The Book of Massage, Lidell, Lucinda. Fireside, New York, 1985.
Do What You Love and the Money will Follow, Sinetar, Marsha. Dell, New York.
Maniken™ Skeleton Kit, Zoologik Systems, Colorado.
Somatics: The Reawakening of the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health, Hanna, Thomas. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Reading, Massachusetts, 1988.
The Human Body in Health and Disease 3rd Edition, Thibodeau & Patton. Mosby, St. Louis, 2002.
Study Guide to Accompany The Human Body in Health and Disease 3rd Edition, Prepared by Swisher, Linda. Mosby, St. Louis, 2002.
Massage Therapy: Principles and Practice 2nd Edition, Salvo, Susan. Saunders, St. Louis, 2003.
The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, Orman, Suze. Three Rivers Press, New York, 2000.
Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists, Salvo, Susan and Anderson, Sandra. Elsevier Mosby, St. Louis, 2004.
The Ethics of Touch, Benjamin, Ben. Sohnen-Moe, Cherie. SMA Inc, Tucson, AZ, 2003.
The Educated Heart, McIntosh, Nina. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia, 1999.
Other publications may be added to the book list during the program. Books and materials are included in the cost of tuition and will be distributed at the school throughout the program.
Regulations & Licensing of Massage
|Massachusetts and Vermont
In Massachusetts and Vermont, individual cities or towns license massage therapists. This means that each may have different educational requirements for massage therapy. We have designed our curriculum to meet the current requirements of many cities and towns, the national certification board, and various professional bodywork organizations.
New Hampshire requires a state license. To obtain a New Hampshire license, students must complete a minimum program of 750 hours. Therefore, our students will need to complete an additional 75 hours of training in electives in order to apply.
In addition to the above, New Hampshire requires license candidates to:
Obtain National Certification
Pass CPR & First Aid
Complete and submit the New Hampshire application form and fees
In Maine, you must have completed 500 hours of training or have passed the National Certification Examination. Back to top