In the loop
Want to try your hand at massage therapy school?
April 19, 2015
Maui is like a mecca of massage. Just as rock stars, celebrity chefs and the A-list of Hollywood flock here to vacation and to call Maui home, so do the elite of the massage world.
To get licensed in Hawaii, you need to have 570 hours of education under your belt and then you may take the state test. There are six massage schools, from the Spa Luna Holistic Esthetician & Massage School to the Maui Academy of Healing Arts, among others.
You are required to take at least 650 hours at the Maui School of Therapeutic Massage in
Makawao. But the esteemed school also offers advanced curriculum and you may earn 850 to 1,000 hours.
"For our advanced program, we bring in adjunct faculty, some of the top therapists and teachers in the field, some inducted in the Massage Hall of Fame," says Shelagh Lampshire, who is executive director of the Makawao school.
Massage Hall of Fame, you say?! Yes, there really is one.
One Massage Hall of Fame inductee, Lynn Wind, is at the school this weekend, teaching lymphatic drainage. She and Peter, her husband, ran Hawaiian Islands School of Massage, a well-respected, high-level training program on the Big Island. They were instrumental in updating massage therapy laws in Hawaii.
Wind's lymphatic drainage massage at MSTM this weekend is a modality that is very light, effective and "moves fluid like nothing else," says Lampshire. "It helps to remove swelling (edema) from injury, post-surgery, jump-starts the immune system and can be supportive to someone going through a dietary cleanse."
Wind also teaches a deeper modality called myofascial mobilization that helps with postural alignment and balance. For the uninitiated, fascia is connective tissue on the body that wraps around and within the muscles, bones and organs- kind of like a spider web.
MSTM also follows Deane Juhan, who is another superstar in the world of bodywork and massage. Juhan has immersed classes at MSTM with Milton Trager Perspectives on Resistance and Release Work for various regions of the body. His book "Job's Body" is also used for the Anatomy & Physiology course there.
Coming to the Makawao school next month to teach will be Massage Hall of Famer Judith Aston.
"Judith was chosen by Dr.
Ida Rolf in 1968 to create the first movement program for Rolfing," says Lampshire. "She is a leader in the field of movement and bodywork. She reads movement patterns and is a genius teaching people how to use gravity to their advantage."
Besides the above-mentioned therapists who come here to teach MSTM classes, its founder Linda Sola and former owner
Jim Hackett, another Massage Hall of Famer, raised the bar.
"Our current curriculum reflects the high level of body work," says Lampshire. "Jim was my mentor. He and Bob King started the first massage school in Chicago back in the day. They took the profession and turned it into a viable and respectable health-care profession that it is today."
The school's "soul" is its education director Frances Salvato. "Frances continues the healing and the philosophy of these forward-thinking leaders of this school," Lampshire says.
Students from all over the world come to study at MSTM. Currently there are five international students, and over the years they've come from
Chile, Russia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Haiti, England, Germany, Slovenia, Argentina, Japan, Venezuela, Scotland, Holland, France and Brazil. Inquiries have recently been sent in from Kenya and India.
"March and September are our start dates," says Lampshire. "We have two programs. One is the 7-month, full-time intensive, in which you cannot have a job during, but you get a career after finishing. Most people from other places take this course."
The other program is the 12-month, part-time course load that allows you to balance other commitments, such as having a job and raising a family. Students learn 75 hours of anatomy, physiology and structural kinesiology. They also get seven hours on the management wellness and stress, 30 hours on Hawaiian lomilomi massage, five hours in reflexology, 20 hours in sports massage, 21 hours in Asian bodywork and much more.
"This is a way of life, it isn't just a job," says Lampshire. "We train our students to listen and to not impose any agenda. We are health care providers who also work in spas. Because of the intimacy of touch, we have to hold ourselves to a high standard."