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Thank you for your interest in the Ann Arbor Institute of Massage Therapy (AAIMT). We hope that you will enjoy viewing our informative website and school catalog. AAIMT’s 800-Clock Hour Massage Therapy Program is designed to provide a learning experience to enhance your life.
AAIMT was founded in 1993 and is licensed by the Michigan Department of Licencing and Regulatory Affairs and Accredited through the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA). Our program includes advanced level anatomy and physiology, pathology, kinesiology and advanced touch therapies, ethics, communication and self care techniques, along with a Certification in both Myofascial Therapy and Neuromuscular Therapy. This integrated approach provides each student with the skills to be successful in a professional clinical setting.
We feel that the skills and knowledge we pass on to you will place you at the forefront of the profession. We are proud of our faculty and our program.
- Program Overview
- Mission Statement
- Course Descriptions
- Accreditation and Associations
- Class Size and Demographics
One clock hour equals 55 minutes plus a five-minute break. The program consists of two semesters over a 12 month period. Each semester is approximately 25 weeks. Programs start in September and February of each calendar year.
Classes are conveniently scheduled to allow the student to attend on a part-time basis, while working full-time. At AAIMT you receive a complete program including full courses in therapies which are rarely included in a beginning massage therapy program.
As class size is limited, we strongly recommend you submit your completed application, arrange for your interview and then register as early as possible to ensure a space for the program you choose.
Upon completion of our Massage Therapy Program you will be awarded a Diploma in Massage Therapy. Upon graduation, specialty certificates will be awarded to those who successfully complete the Myofascial Therapy, Neuromuscular Therapy course-work and exams, graduates are also presented with a official transcript.
The Ann Arbor Institute of Massage Therapy is dedicated to advancing the art and science of massage therapy through excellence in education, personal and professional development, and community service; in order to promote personal wellness and transform health care.
The first semester will be the foundation of your education. Semester II builds upon skills learned in Semester I.
Anatomy & Physiology (91 Hours) - Semester I
In order for massage to have therapeutic benefits, the practitioner must have a thorough understanding of the structure and function of the human body. In this portion of the program the student will become familiar with the human body, beginning at the cellular level and continuing into the major systems. Emphasis is placed on the integumentary (skin), skeletal, and muscular systems, since these are the areas the student will address directly. Kinesiology and pathology hours are included in this section.
Therapeutic Massage & Related Approaches (105 Hours) - Semester I & II
The student will learn all the basic (Swedish) strokes of Therapeutic Massage. The body will be studied a portion at a time while utilizing the techniques. Range of motion, joint mobilization and therapeutic stretches will then be added. Proper draping techniques, body mechanics and tableside manner for the therapist’s professionalism will also be included. In Semester II, students will receive more advanced instruction on pregnancy massage, infant massage and geriatric massage. We model professionalism at all times when in the classroom.
Seated Massage (8 Hours) - Semester I
The Seated Massage course concentrates on teaching the participant a therapeutic routine that can be adapted to different situations. Use of body mechanics to produce maximum results with minimum effort are taught.
Introduction to Reflexology (26.5 Hours) - Semester I
This is a holistic approach to an ancient and scientific form of treating the whole body through the reflexes on the feet, hands, and ears. The basis for treatment evolves from the harmful effects of stress on the body’s systems. We will explore the history dating from 3000 BC to current international research as well as its clinical significance.
Introduction to Shiatsu: Technique and Theory (23 Hours) - Semester I
Students learn this Japanese healing art, Shiatsu (shi – finger, atsu – pressure) which is a system for healing and health maintenance. Originating in 2500 BC, it is still widely practiced today. In class, the student will learn basic oriental philosophy, meditation guidelines, location of meridians as well as acupressure and how to integrate it into other massage work.
Introduction to Thai Massage (31 Hours) - Semester I
Thai Massage is an ancient healing system that has been practiced for more than 1,000 years, beginning with Buddhist monks in temples. It is a combination of Ayurveda, Yoga, Buddhism, and Thai healing techniques called "ancient healing touch". This style of massage greatly effects muscle flexibility utilizing stretching movements and pressure on energy points. The recipient will experience feelings of relaxation, youthfulness, peace of mind, happiness, and flexibility.
Anatomy and Palpation Skills (24 Hours) - Semester I
Designed to expand the student's ability to palpate body landmarks, muscles and various other structures, emphasis is placed on anatomy, palpation, visualization, exercises for increasing sensory awareness and self care. Experiential techniques are used to help distinguish muscles, bones and body pulses and rhythms.
Myofascial Therapy - 3 sections (89.5 Hours) - Semester I & II
Myofascial Therapy is an effective form of Deep Tissue Massage which addresses postural distortions and chronic myofascial patterns of strain. Myofascial Therapy offers a cooperative approach for improving structural alignment with specific emphasis on palpatory skills, postural assessment techniques and orthopedic assessment skills, direction, pressure, breath awareness, perception and sensitivity. Other topics covered include body psychology and concepts of armoring, past trauma, bodywork boundaries and safety issues, and biomechanical aspects of strain. This modality along with Neuromuscular Therapy is truly Medical Massage. This course contains information regarding Kinesiology and Pathology.
Clinical Documentation (7.5 Hours) - Semester I
The student will learn to properly document the therapeutic massage session. Documentation is essential to the development of a treatment plan. This is extremely important for the professional in the clinical setting and compliments professionalism.
Professional Ethics and Boundaries (16 Hours) - Semester I & II
A professional massage therapist is bound by a code of ethics, students must learn professional and ethical boundaries to be able to provide safe care for clientele. Students will also learn communication skills and how to integrate ethical standards into their business.
Anatomy Lab - Maniken™ (40 Hours) - Semester II
Each student will study anatomy in a three-dimensional way—through the use of clay and uniquely designed skeletal models. As anatomy texts are a two dimensional illustration of three-dimensional material, the student gains an understanding of the layering of the musculoskeletal system while building in clay. The cost of the necessary Maniken™ materials is included in the lab fee.
Pathology (20 Hours) - Semester II
Pathology is the study of the nature of disease and the structural and functional changes produced by them. Massage therapists are ethically responsible for recognizing clients’ deviations from normal health and knowing if massage is indicated or contraindicated. Our purpose in this course is to help the beginning massage student form a knowledge base to build upon as they begin to practice. Information on Pathology for the various systems in the body is presented along with a hands-on portion for Orthopedic Testing of the major muscle groups. This is in addition to the Pathology already covered with Anatomy and Physiology, Myofascial Therapy and Sports Massage.
Sports & Orthopedic Massage I - Event Massage (16 Hours) - Semester I
Sports Massage is a rapidly emerging specialty within the massage therapy field. This workshop covers pre- and post-event work including information on the theory, principles and benefits of Sports Massage, thermal injuries and Muscle Energy Techniques. The student is presented with an additional technique to use with athletes called Body Mobilization Technique.
Sports & Orthopedic Massage II- Clinical Sports Massage (24 Hours) - Semester II
This workshop covers maintenance of the athlete, the physiology of injury and its repair process, evaluative orthopedic testing, proper use of ice and friction along with the pathology and specific treatment of common sports related injuries. In both sections we use a combination of specialized techniques to help prevent sports injuries, boost endurance and performance and accelerate recovery from injury or fatigue. This course contains information on anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and pathology.
Neuromuscular Therapy - 3 Sections (110.5 Hours) - Semester II
Neuromuscular Therapy is used for the freeing and relief of chronically tense, contracted, and painful tissues. It is an advanced and profound form of massage therapy and requires a high degree of anatomical precision, specificity and skilled palpation. Neuromuscular Therapy provides complete and effective relief from chronic pain and tension, postural dysfunction, and injury. The student acquires an understanding of the principles and philosophy of myofascial dysfunction and the application of the Laws of Physiology. The course provides instruction in orthopedic assessment and advanced "body reading" with an emphasis on postural dysfunction. Emphasis is placed on anatomical and kinesiological knowledge along with pathologies common to a given muscle structure. This modality along with Myofascial Therapy is truly Medical Massage.
Business Management & Practice Building (13 Hours) - Semester II
This is about the ins and outs and in-betweens of an intelligent practice. The student will learn about and begin to examine the importance of clear, accurate and effective methods of communication. The student will also learn how to apply appropriate business and professional ethics to their massage practice. Emphasis will be placed on marketing along with other methods of building a solid, successful practice. There is also a bookkeeping and goal setting portion within this course.
Student Clinic - Internship (140 Hours) - Semester I & II
Students begin to work in the in-house Student Clinic during the first semester. Our Student Clinic is open to the public and provides therapeutic massage sessions to the community at a very low cost. Students learn to take a health assessment as well as greet and interact with clientele. The exposure in the clinic prepares the student to work with the public confidently. The student is supervised and closely guided during this portion of the program. There is a student/teacher ratio of 6/1. Student’s grades here reflect their experience in Student Clinic including attendance, attitude, appearance and professionalism. Students practice Seated, full body massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu and Thai massage for relaxation during the first semester. During the second semester students begin to integrate other modalities and more corrective work into the massage, then begin to practice Myofascial and Neuromuscular Therapies. 140 hours of participation in the Student Clinic is a requirement to graduate.
Professional Critiquing - Internship (3 Hours) - Semester I
The student performs (3) one-hour long therapeutic massage for relaxation sessions on faculty members. This is an opportunity for one-on-one instruction for the student as well as to receive appropriate feedback regarding their work. The student directly benefits from the faculty member's experience and mentoring.
Professional Critiquing - Internship (7 Hours) - Semester II
The student performs (7) one-hour long treatment sessions on faculty members. These sessions will include the student's demonstration of knowledge and proficiency in advanced therapeutics and orthopedic assessments. During these sessions the student will receive appropriate feedback regarding therapeutic approach and effectiveness of the work received by the faculty member. These 10 hours are another opportunity for one-on-one instruction.
The Ann Arbor Institute of Massage Therapy is the first school of massage therapy in Michigan to gain accreditation with COMTA. As a non-profit, independent body, COMTA’s mission is to maintain and improve quality assurance in massage therapy and bodywork education by recognizing post-secondary schools and programs through an accreditation process. Schools and programs achieve this recognition by continually demonstrating their compliance with a commitment to standards developed and monitored by the commission. This process assures that students receive quality education and training; therefore, the industry receives competently trained practitioners and the public receives quality services.
AAIMT also holds a certificate of good standing with the State of Ohio and the State of Washington, so that students from these states are already pre-qualified to take the Ohio and Washington State Exams for Massage Therapists. Our program standards meet or exceed most state standards.
Our profession now enjoys a National Certification Examination. Our students are eligible to take part in this process as soon as they graduate. We actively encourage our graduates by providing them with all current information for these exams. AAIMT graduates qualify to take either of the two exams. We are also an approved school with the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB). Our curriculum meets NCBTMB standards. We have been an Approved Continuing Education Provider with NCBTMB since 1999. This national certification credential will help place graduates in the forefront of the profession and is particularly important to gaining state licensure. Presently, there are 43 states with massage regulations/licensure.
AAIMT is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Council of Schools. Our membership meets criteria to allow our students to become AMTA members.
AAIMT is a member of the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP). All students are supplied with a one year student membership to ABMP.
Average size classes at AAIMT consist of 30-56 students. We believe that this class size allows for more personal interaction between instructor and student while allowing students to develop lasting relationships.
The average lecture class size is 30 students with a maximum of 35. The average size of technique class is 30 with a maximum of 35. The average workshop has 56 students. The student to teacher ratio is 5:1 for technique classes and 30:1 or less for lecture classes. Students attend classes two days per week earning 7 clock hours per week with the exception of weeks containing one of the 16 weekend workshops. During those weeks, students earn between 15 and 31 clock hours.