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Try Your Hand at Massage Therapy

Are you dreaming of becoming a massage therapist, but feeling a little hesitant about jumping right into a two-year program? We’ve got you covered.

Massage for Beginners is a 2-day hands-on introduction to the world of massage. The workshop gets rave reviews from people want a short, safe, preview of what it’s really like attend massage school and build a massage career. We also get a lot of curious folks who want to learn the basics of massage to work on friends and family members (and to guarantee that they’ll be the most popular person on the group ski trip!).

Spend the weekend learning hands-on massage skills from a real MH Vicars instructor, using our professional equipment!

Why is Massage for Beginners so valuable?

When students first begin hands-on work, everyone is nervous about getting on and off the table and staying draped, touching, and being touched. Linda McGeachy, MH Vicars director of curriculum, says she can see the difference in the first few classes between those who have taken the workshop and those who haven’t: “Module One can be overwhelming, but those who have had the workshop do much better. They have so much more confidence.”

If you are interested in becoming a massage therapist, a beginners’ workshop is the best way to be secure about your decision and to be prepared and confident for the first day of class. And if you come away from the workshop feeling like massage therapy isn’t for you after all, that’s just as valuable. Massage is not the career for everyone. No reputable massage school wants to enroll students who are not going to thrive.

While many schools make their introductory session mandatory, Vicars does not because so many of our students are from out of town or out of province.

But we do strongly encourage prospective students to attend—and even refund the $250 course fee for everyone who goes on to attend our massage program!

From Workshop Student to Workshop Instructor

When Corliss Robertson was considering whether to train at Vicars for her new massage career, she was keen to sign up for the introductory weekend. Although she already thought she was making the right career choice, she wanted to make sure: “I thought if I was going to invest two years of my life in massage training, I might as well make sure it was really right for me, and the workshop seemed like a great way to give it a try.”

Corliss, who graduated in 2015, has built a successful career and eventually returned to the school as an instructor. As well as teaching classes, she now teaches many of the Massage for Beginners workshops at the Calgary campus.

No matter what brings our beginners in, they all find it wonderful—and empowering—to be able to do a simple and effective one-hour massage by the end of the two-day workshop. It’s an intense two days, Corliss says, but stress-free. Participants are free to explore the work without any stress or academic expectations.

“There is no judgement. It’s a relaxed environment in which to test the work,” she says.

Each workshop opens with a presentation on how to keep both therapist and massage subjects safe. They learn how to set up the equipment, what makes a good massage table, and how to keep a treatment space clean. Students learn to check with their clients for contraindications to massage. And they learn to keep themselves safe through practicing good body mechanics as they work. Careful draping techniques are taught and practiced, so that both parties feel comfortable.

The group works in pairs as the instructor demonstrates each of the techniques that together form the skill set of a basic relaxation massage, including effleurage, petrissage, and tapotement. They learn the overall principles of massage, the rules that make these techniques safe and effective.

But for everyone, the best part of the weekend is the last afternoon, when the instructor leads the class as they take turns giving and receiving a whole-body massage, timing the different steps so that each pair works at the same pace, and everyone completes the treatment in one hour. At the end of the workshop, each student takes home their learning materials so they can continue to learn and practice their new skills on friends and family once they get home.

The reviews are in!

Here’s a sampling of the feedback we’ve received from past workshop participants:

“It was so cool.”

“The course is very well set up.”

“I can’t believe all that I was able to learn in such a short time.”

“There was just enough structure, but it was never rigid.”

“We really got a better understanding about what it means to be a massage therapist.”

“Having Stan [one of the school’s anatomy skeletons] was helpful. He helped show what the bony landmarks looked like.”

And this one, which we suspect was written by a reluctant pal who signed up to support their friend: “I came into this not expecting to like it and I loved it.” 

Click here to learn more about Massage for Beginners and sign up for a future workshop. The fee is $250 per person, or $350 for both if you bring a friend.