OPTM9 Intermediate Massage

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Level: 5
Credits: 10

Directed Learning hours: 40
Workplace or Practical Learning hours: 10
Self Directed Learning hours: 50
Total Learning Hours: 100


In this course we aim to provide you with an introduction to applied therapeutic massage techniques, intermediate palpation skills, and an understanding of ways that massage techniques may be adapted to provide safe and effective treatment in a range of contexts.



  • Anatomy 2

Learning Outcomes

For you to achieve the aims of the course we believe that you need to be able to

  1. Competently perform a subjective assessment
  2. Identify the presence of disease, injury or dysfunction through palpation of soft-tissue at an intermediate level
  3. Develop a treatment plan from observation and palpation of soft-tissue and subjective analysis
  4. Apply massage techniques at an intermediate level in accordance with the developed treatment plan
  5. Use bolstering and positioning to enhance treatment
  6. Use palpation to assess the therapeutic response to treatment
  7. Describe how to adapt massage for different conditions including sports, onsite, pregnancy, disability and selected medical conditions.

You will be assessed against these learning outcomes.


This course is taught via a combination of online theoretical learning, and face-to-face training.

The bulk of the online learning involved in Intermediate massage will take place over the period before the second practical block. The knowledge that we will cover over the next couple of weeks will underpin your understanding of deep-tissue work and palpation.

Online Learning

Week 30

Week 31

Week 32

  • Local Adaptation Syndrome
  • ANS Balance & tissue quality
  • Pain-spasm cycle

Week 33

  • Tonic & Phasic muscles & muscle balance

Practical Training

Block 1 : Sports Massage

  • Pre-event massage
  • Post-event massage
  • Use of heat & cold
  • Use of stretching in massage

Block 2 : Deep-tissue massage

  • Palpation
  • Techniques for working with specific muscles to create change
  • Working with pain and chronic tension
  • Therapeutic bolstering and positioning

Block 5 : Pregnancy massage & Adaptive massage

Adapting massage for work with

  • Pregnancy
  • Infants & children
  • Elderly
  • Chronic or terminal illness
  • Disability
  • Mental illness

Clinical Integration

You will be provided with scheduled time in the student massage clinic. Over this time our clinical staff will coach you in your massage practice, and will assess your skill in intermediate massage practice during the final month of the programme.


You will be assessed through a combination of

  • Supervised clinical assessment
  • Case studies
  • Final theoretical examination

Attendance Requirements

Students are expected to attend 90% of practical classes. If in the opinion of the programme manager students have a valid reason for non-attendance, their total attendance may be permitted to drop to a minimum of 80%. Non-participation in these classes is treated as non-attendance.

Students are required to attend all clinical- and work- placement activities except when the programme manager judges that there are extenuating circumstances.

Completion requirements

Students must achieve competency in all assessment tasks for completion of this course. Students attendance and participation must also comply with the attendance requirements of the course.

Student Reading List

We require you to have the following texts

  • Fritz, S. (2004). Mosby’s fundamentals of therapeutic massage (3rd ed.). Missouri: Mosby.
  • Premkumar, K. (2000). Pathology A to Z – A handbook for massage therapists (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

And we strongly recommend that you get a copy of

  • Clay, J., & Pounds, D. (2003). Basic clinical massage – integrating anatomy and treatment. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

All required and recommended texts should be stocked by the University Book Shop.

The course coordinator may recommend additional reading resources.