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Massage Therapy

Associate in Occupational Studies Degree Program 64 semester credits

Massage therapy is a licensed profession in New York State. The Massage Therapy degree program prepares students to take the New York State licensure exam, achieve licensure and enter the profession. Students use massage techniques to promote relaxation, reduce pain and treat a variety of medical conditions—all with a goal of wellness and healing.

We consider our integrated approach, involving both Western and Eastern theory and techniques, to be unique. Students learn classical Swedish massage and then add Five Element Shiatsu. They will learn advanced applications in Western techniques (such as sports massage, trigger point therapy and myofascial release) and will be introduced to complementary modalities such as Thai massage, Tuina, and reflexology. In-depth preparation in anatomy and physiology, massage-related pathology, neurology, and kinesiology provide the foundation for effective client assessment and treatment. Coursework in the ethics of client care, communication skills and client safety ensure that practice will be at a high professional level.

Extensive practice in the college’s stress reduction and therapeutic clinics and at community service externships prepares students for their future professional careers. Employment opportunities for licensed graduates are varied and include spas, health facilities, gyms, hospitals, corporate fitness centers, physical therapy clinics and chiropractic offices, or the option of establishing a private practice.

Graduates are awarded an Associate in Occupational Studies degree (AOS) as authorized by the New York State Board of Regents.



The objectives of Swedish Institute’s Massage Therapy Program are to:

  • Educate students to design and implement safe, effective individualized Western and Eastern massage sessions to enhance wellness and relaxation, reduce pain and other symptoms, facilitate structural and energetic balance, and offer healing on many levels.
  • Provide students with a comprehensive knowledge base in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and Eastern energetics, which they will utilize in establishing safe and effective treatment approaches based on the best available evidence.
  • Facilitate development of effective communication skills, boundary setting skills and client-centered ethical decision-making, supported by knowledge of the professional responsibilities essential in the client/therapist relationship.
  • Provide students with essential business skills, including marketing tools, knowledge of the legal, collegial, and ethical aspects of professional practice and the skills necessary to operate a successful practice in massage therapy.
  • Cultivate in students an awareness of efficient body mechanics, and a commitment to on-going self-care, to help ensure longevity and comfort in practice.
  • Foster student confidence and development of clinical skills through the practice of therapeutic massage with different client populations in the Swedish Institute clinics and at community offsite experiences.
  • Prepare students to take the New York State licensing examination, become New York State licensed massage therapists, and stay informed about changes in regulations related to the profession.
  • Provide students with the skills and motivation to continue learning throughout their lifetimes.