I realize there are some people pushing for requiring 1,000 hour programs. I respectfully disagree.

We can in my experience deliver a superb entry-level education in 500 hours. If a school can’t do it in 500 hours – I assure you – most won’t in 1,000!

At the same time, I do support recommending up to 500 hours or so of systematic continuing education. We have at my school a systematic advanced program of 280 hours (plus 300+ hours of workshops each year). Although I don’t think the National Certification Board is the entity to properly oversee this, their idea of a minimum of 250 additional hours beyond 500 is quite reasonable.

I don’t believe we should increase the number of hours for entry level. We should do what we can to increase the QUALITY of entry level education.

I think within a good entry level program, the graduate should be encouraged and educated to make informed decisions about what further info and techniques they want to develop. This might be shiatsu or hospital-based work or more postural work or psychologically-oriented bodywork or orthopedic, etc. There are so many possible directions. I think those who think that the primary direction for advanced training be that it be medically-oriented massage are lobbying for just one vision.

There are too many contexts in which massage is practiced to limit it to any one vision. Massage and bodywork in the U.S. is fertile because of the varied approaches that have been developed and encouraged. I think we can move forward very well if we keep this adventuresome quality alive. We can do this by upping the quality of basic training and noting criteria for many varieties of advanced trainings in massage and bodywork.

Some of these of course exist via a variety of organizations and systematic education programs – the Rolf Institute, Trager Institute, Orthopedic Massage certifications, ZB Certification, AOBTA curriculum recommendations, etc.

In the U.S. we are lucky to have so many contexts in which to practice along with the responsibility and vast opportunities for life-long learning.

The Lauterstein-Conway Massage School offers the Advanced Program. The Advanced Program covers specialized advanced technique in Deep Massage: Lauterstein Method, Zero Balancing, Orthopedic Massage, Cranio-Sacral Work, Psychology of Bodywork, Shiatsu and Integrative Bodywork.