Current Bastyr University students can train to become licensed massage therapists while still in school. Through a partnership with Bellevue Massage School, all Bastyr students have access to an 11-week summer massage intensive that prepares them for massage therapy licensure.

Why It's Popular

Each summer, about 30 Bastyr students take the course. It's popular for several reasons, says Dean Neary, Jr., ND, chair of the Department of Physical Medicine.

  • Touch: Massage therapy helps students develop experience with touch and palpation, core skills in naturopathic medicine and acupuncture.
  • Rapport: Massage also lets students develop their interviewing and patient-interaction skills.
  • Income during school: Licensed massage therapists can make $25 to $150 to an hour.
  • Patients: For students who plan to practice in Western Washington, working as a massage therapist can help build a base of patients for starting a practice after graduation.

Who Takes It

The program is open to all Bastyr students who complete the necessary prerequisites. Naturopathic medicine students must complete coursework in physiology, anatomy and myofascial analysis. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine, graduate nutrition students and undergraduates must complete Anatomy and Physiology, Living Anatomy and coursework in massage and Western pathology.

Training and Techniques

Students attend classroom sessions at Bastyr's campus in Kenmore. They attend clinical training at Bellevue Massage School, about 30 minutes from campus. Students receive training and individual critiques from experienced licensed massage practitioners. They also participate in discussions and demonstrations of massage techniques for various pathologies. Topics covered include:

  • Swedish massage strokes and full-body routine
  • Physiological/mechanical effects
  • Body mechanics
  • Ethics and massage
  • Deep-tissue massage
  • Pregnancy massage/side-lying
  • Trigger points
  • Sports massage
  • Massage for specific injuries and illnesses
  • Taxes, business expenses, marketing
  • Medical and liability insurance

Schedule and Cost

Classes typically run from late June to early September. Students can choose between morning or afternoon classes Monday through Thursday, plus several Saturday sessions.
Tentative fees for 2012 are $2,790 plus a $1,950 lab fee. The course cannot be audited.

Benefits of Massage

Healers have known about the benefits of massage for thousands of years. In recent years, scientific research has increasingly confirmed the therapeutic benefits of massage for the human body and mind. Massage has been shown to improve the immune system, lower stress, reduce depression and improve conditions as diverse as back pain, migraines, hypertension, pain and nausea in cancer, insomnia and childhood eczema.

For more information, contact Kristine Arena, naturopathic medicine program supervisor, at, or the Bellevue Massage School at

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