Massage Classes

massage students around computer

Massage students studying

Length of Training and  Massage Class Schedules

Most massage schools offer a variety of schedules for their students to choose from and most programs take about a year. Massage is regulated differently by state in regards to the required training hours, but it’s usually best to make sure you cover the maximum amount of hours needed nationwide. If you move and only complete the minimum amount of training hours for one state, then you might need to go back to school to meet the demands for another state.

With the massage training school I attended, I chose the schedule where the classes were three times a week—Monday 6pm-9pm, Wednesday 6pm-9pm and Saturday 9am-4pm.  I could have dropped in every weekday for shorter increments of time, but I lived too far away to justify spending the money on gas for two extra days. (We had an hour for lunch on Saturdays, and everyone always went out together, so it was worth it.)

Juniors and Seniors; Eastern and Western

The classes were divided 50/50 with juniors and seniors. Juniors were students who ranged from new to halfway through the program and seniors were anywhere from the halfway point to nearing graduation. When the seniors graduated and the juniors became seniors, new juniors came in to fill up the class. This was a big change for our group—losing our seniors halfway through our year and meeting another crew—but we bonded with the new juniors just as quickly.

Half of the year is spent learning Eastern modalities, the other half is spent leaning Western. At the middle of the year, the course focus switches with the changing of the students.

Courses Covered

  • Swedish
  • Deep tissue
  • Lymphatic massage
  • Sports massage
  • Prenatal massage
  • Hot stone massage
  • Reflexology
  • Aromatherapy
  • Shiatsu
  • Thai
  • Energy work
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)


—Meridian theory

  • Myofascial release therapies
  • Pathology
  • Kinesiology
  • Anatomy and physiology

Also covered in the courses was important information about launching our careers, managing our business finances, and marketing.

What Went On In Massage Class?

 When I joined class as a new junior, our first six months covered Western modalities. This included the more mainstream Swedish Massage and variations. The basic difference between the Eastern and Western styles is the philosophy behind the bodywork. With Western, there is more of a focus on the anatomy of the body and working on the muscles directly to bring the client relief. In Eastern, the muscles are also loosened with palpation, but there is more energy work in mind.

The first massage technique we learned was Swedish Massage, also known as classic massage. Our mentor had us gather around her table as she demonstrated different strokes on a volunteer from the class. We were given a choreographed routine to follow and practiced in increments of fifteen minutes on our partners until we were able to perform the entire massage. I think the best—and decidedly most hilarious—part of learning Swedish Massage in a classroom full of massage tables is learning how to get undressed and under the covers without flashing everyone. But the school had a tried and true method to help us out. We held the sheet up against the wall so our partner could undress in privacy (there are only four corners in a room, so you have to hurry if you want a good spot!). Then we wrapped them in the sheet and they had to shuffle to table. At first, there was a lot of giggling as we tried to figure out how to get on the table and unrolled from the sheet, but eventually it became so natural that we forgot we wouldn’t be wrapping our clients in sheets in our future practices!

Overall, there was a certain amount of peace in the classroom because the balance was almost perfect. We had a good mix of practice time, desk time, discussion time and even exercise time. The stretches were critical to help prepare our bodies for proper body mechanics while giving a massage to prevent injury. And because of the focus of promoting good energy and healing in mind and body, my experience in that classroom was by far the best I’ve ever had.