BSiT-MT Course Descriptions

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Course Descriptions – Core Courses

Anatomy and Physiology – 4 lecture credits, 1 lab credit

This course introduces the structure and function of the human body from a whole-systems perspective. The integumentary, musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urogenital, and immune systems, and endocrine systems will be covered.  Mechanisms for maintaining homeo/allostasis as well as concepts of development, metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, and acid-base balance will be explored.

Self-Care and Self-Management – 2 lecture credits

There are several self-care and self-management strategies that help to develop and maintain health, prevent disease, and reduce stress. This course introduces students to a variety of self-care practices including yoga, meditation, and qigong practice.

Pain Science and Neurophysiology – 2 lecture credits

The biopsychosocial model of pain is quickly surpassing the strictly biomechanical/biomedical model that has dominated for centuries. This has only been possible in the last few years by an integration of current neurophysiological concepts of pain with a greater understanding of the psychosocial aspects and a modern understanding of the anatomical and immunologic contributions to the experience. Compared with the significant psychological bias on the manifestation of organic pain syndromes, anatomy and physiology are seen as more concrete and well defined aspects. They still remain essential components on which the contemporary perceptions of pain medicine can be structured, despite the realization that, in this area too, changes in our scientific awareness are frequently being made. Without the biopsychosocial model of pain, the integrative understanding and treatment of pain would likely not advance. This main goal of this course is for the student to assimilate knowledge of pain science and neurophysiology and its relevance to the understanding and treatment of pain

Static Point Massage Techniques – 2 lecture credits, 1.5 lab credits

The first in the series of NUNM massage courses deals with static point techniques. The overall goal of the massage courses at NUNM is to utilize the law of parsimony, combined with current knowledge of physiological effects of massage and point work, to deliver classes that teach the fundamental ideas behind each technique. This process will touch upon specific named techniques (those most commonly-used by massage therapists), in an academic setting to deconstruct the rationalized mechanisms often used to explain their effects. The desired result is that students graduating from this course have a deeper, more complete understanding of how various massage techniques and applied forces work, how best to apply these techniques and forces, and how to teach clients about them in the most accurate and ethical ways

Principles and History of Massage – 3 lecture credits

This course is designed to provide the student with foundational information about the history and theory of massage therapy. Material covered includes principles of professional touch, history of massage including pertinent people who helped develop massage into what it is today, evidence-informed practice, massage and public health, and the physiological effects of massage therapy and therapeutic touch.

Palpation Lab – 1 lab credit

This is an introduction-level palpation class that sets the foundation for deeper learning in the massage courses. Applying the information they used in their anatomy classes, students will learn to palpate the surface anatomy of the human body that is most pertinent to the practice of massage therapy. In addition, students will also, learn about optimal body mechanics, and areas of the body that should be generally avoided during a massage. This class is a lab format and will be entirely active and heavily experiential.

Critical Thinking for Pre-Health Professionals – 3 lecture credits

Critical thinking is the use of reasoning in determining what’s true and what’s false. Health professionals must employ critical thinking when learning, integrating, evaluating, and applying new thoughts, ideas or principles to clinical practice. Without this, clients and patients of these professionals will never be able to truly give informed consent as the professional is unlikely to accurately represent the procedure or treatment the patient is giving their consent to. This course will focus on: productive reasoning skills, evaluating and assessing logical and illogical reasoning skills, understanding logical fallacies and what role they play in constructing and destructing arguments. This course will also cover basic properties of scientific reasoning. One of the main goals of this class is to help you recognize and have self-awareness of your own biases and when you may be more prone to employing logically-fallacious thought processes.

Pathology/Condition 1 – 3 lecture credits

This series of courses provide students with information to understand and apply knowledge of basic pathologies and conditions, which are most pertinent to massage therapists. This course will deepen knowledge of the musculoskeletal systems and present definitions, causes, symptoms, and appropriate actions/referrals for the pathologies/conditions of these systems. Emphasis is on musculoskeletal pathologies/conditions that massage therapists need to recognize as contraindications or because they are emergent conditions that require immediate action. The course includes signs and symptoms of diseases with emphasis on recognition and identification. The course purpose is to discuss musculoskeletal pathologies with the goal of being able to make informed decisions about the safety and applicability of massage therapy. In addition, students will learn to develop critical thinking skills to be able to find information independently and to identify the variables that contribute to informed decisions.

Anatomy in Clay I and II – 2 lab credits

These courses are an integration and continuation of the information and skills learned in both Anatomy and Physiology, and Palpation Lab. The Anatomy in Clay student models will be utilized for each student to build the pertinent anatomy from clay, giving them a kinesthetic and visual experience to further solidify their anatomical knowledge. Anatomy in Clay I will be about the muscular system and Anatomy in Clay II, the nervous system. Each class will have their credit-loads split evenly between lab and lecture; lectures will consist of hybrid lectures of the anatomy and building clay structures, labs will consist of a combination of building structures out of clay and applying that knowledge to enhance palpation skills. This combination creates a rich, multi-sensory learning environment.

Light Pressure Massage Techniques – 2 lecture, 2 lab credits

The second in the series of NUNM massage courses deals with light pressure techniques. The overall goal of the massage courses at NUNM is to utilize the law of parsimony, combined with current knowledge of physiological effects of massage and point work, to deliver classes that teach the fundamental ideas behind each technique. This process will touch upon specific named techniques (those most commonly-used by massage therapists), in an academic setting to deconstruct the rationalized mechanisms often used to explain their effects. The desired result is that students graduating from this course have a deeper, more complete understanding of how various massage techniques and applied forces work, how best to apply these techniques and forces, and how to teach clients about them in the most accurate and ethical ways.

Introduction to Clinic – 2 lecture credits

This course will provide the necessary information regarding: charting and record keeping for massage encounters, in depth history-taking, electronic health records, non-verbal communication, proper therapist hygiene, and pre and post massage sanitation. This information culminates in a 1 hour massage, performed on an NUNM community member, in the NUNM clinic system.

Advanced Writing and Self-Reflective Skills – 3 lecture credits

This course will provide intensive practice in the process of producing thoughtful and polished essays that start with the writer’s experiences and move on to explore the relationship of the self to the external world. Emphasis is placed on finding a personal voice, exploring and developing one’s ideas, and effectively revising one’s work.

Pathology/Condition 2 3 lecture credits

This series of courses provide students with information to understand and apply knowledge of basic pathologies and conditions, which are most pertinent to massage therapists. This course will deepen knowledge of physiological systems, other than the musculoskeletal system, and present definitions, causes, symptoms, and appropriate actions/referrals for the pathologies/conditions of these systems. Emphasis is on pathologies/conditions that massage therapists need to recognize as contraindications or because they are emergent conditions that require immediate action. The course includes signs and symptoms of diseases with emphasis on recognition and identification. The course purpose is to discuss pathologies with the goal of being able to make informed decisions about the safety and applicability of massage therapy. In addition, students will learn to develop critical thinking skills to be able to find information independently and to identify the variables that contribute to informed decisions.

Heavy Pressure Massage Techniques – 2 lecture, 2 lab credits

The third in the series of NUNM massage courses deals with heavy pressure techniques. The overall goal of the massage courses at NUNM is to utilize the law of parsimony, combined with current knowledge of physiological effects of massage and point work, to deliver classes that teach the fundamental ideas behind each technique. This process will touch upon specific named techniques (those most commonly-used by massage therapists), in an academic setting to deconstruct the rationalized mechanisms often used to explain their effects. The desired result is that students graduating from this course have a deeper, more complete understanding of how various massage techniques and applied forces work, how best to apply these techniques and forces, and how to teach clients about them in the most accurate and ethical ways.

Clinic Supervision Group – 1 lecture credit

This stand-alone class is designed to be a safe space to learn and communicate with your classmates and group instructor about the psychosocial experiences of applying massage to clients. This class will consist of sharing experiences, relevant assignments, journaling, and conclude with a whole-class, 30 minute presentation to selected NUNM community members about what was learned during the term.

Clinic Shifts – 2 credits

The NUNM clinic system is a diverse set of campus and community clinics. Students will be assigned to different shifts based on their preference and/or availability. The massage clinic shifts will offer variable-cost massage to NUNM community members and the public to offer our students the most robust and valuable massage clinical experience available.

Biomechanics and Kinesiology – 2 lecture credits

The purpose this course is to introduce students to concepts of mechanics as they apply to human movement, particularly those pertaining to exercise, sport, and physical activity. The student will gain an understanding of the mechanical, physiological, and anatomical principles that govern human motion and develop the ability to link the structure of the human body with its function. Emphasis will be on the role of muscle in generating force and controlling movement.

Case-Based Massage Integration/Clinic Supervision – 2 lecture credits

This course is designed to be a safe space to integrate the biopsychosocial experiences of performing and experiencing massage, utilizing a case-based approach.  This class will consist of evaluating cases to discuss the integration of massage with science, to share personal and/or clinical experiences to the class, and evaluate cases through the lens of what you are learning at NUNM.

Health Psychology & Mind/Body Medicine – 3 lecture credits

This course explores the link between mind and body from social, clinical, and psychobiological perspectives. It addresses the role of stress, emotion, self-regulation, and individual differences as predictors of health and illness. It will also examine assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and ethical issues in psycho-physiological disorders. Mind/Body techniques such as meditation and awareness will be covered.

Biostatistics for Pre-Health Majors – 3 lecture credits

Course topics include the collection, classification, and presentation of descriptive data; the rationale of estimation and hypothesis testing; analysis of variance; analysis of contingency tables; correlation and regression analysis; multiple regression, logistic regression, and the statistical control of confounding; sample size and power considerations; survival analysis.

Scientific & Professional Communication – 3 lecture credits

This course imparts essential knowledge and skills for effective scientific and professional communication in scientific writing, poster design, and oral presentations. The course addresses basic research papers, lab reports and project proposals. Students will cover fundamentals of business communication including letter-writing, email etiquette, and social media ethics.

Psychology: Body and Touch – 2 lecture credits

Our own perceptions and others’ perceptions of our body, carry psychological weight; touch, specifically, receiving touch, is important to our development, physiologically and psychologically. This course explores the psychology of body and touch and looks at the topic from a social and cultural point of view as well as from a purely psychological point of view.

Movement-Based Techniques – 2 lecture, 2 lab credits

The forth in the series of NUNM massage courses deals with movement-based massage techniques. The overall goal of the massage courses at NUNM is to utilize the law of parsimony, combined with current knowledge of physiological effects of massage and point work, to deliver classes that teach the fundamental ideas behind each technique. This process will touch upon specific named techniques (those most commonly-used by massage and manual therapists), in an academic setting to deconstruct the rationalized mechanisms often used to explain their effects. The desired result is that students graduating from this course have a deeper, more complete understanding of how various movements work to help people in pain, how they can be incorporated into a massage therapy setting, how best to apply these techniques and forces, and how to teach clients about them in the most accurate and ethical ways.

Evidence-based Practice for Pre-health Professionals – 3 lecture credits

The medical literature plays an important role in clinical decision making as well as scientific careers. However, locating the correct evidence and critically evaluating the results requires training and practice. This course equips students with the basics of evidence-based medicine. Prerequisites: Biostatistics for Life Sciences; Scientific & Professional Communication.

Ethics & Philosophical Dilemmas – 3 lecture credits

This course is an introduction to the philosophical study of morality, including the theory of right and wrong behavior, the theory of value (goodness and badness), and the theory of virtue and vice. Besides providing familiarity with the primary questions addressed within moral philosophy and the most influential answers given by well-known philosophers. It addresses euthanasia and the right to die, behavior modification, allocation of scarce medical resources, in vitro fertilization, genetic screening and engineering, and research involving human subjects.

Neurodynamics – 2 lecture credits

This course is designed to present the latest evidence and provide a theoretical framework for the clinical application of neurodynamics. Neurodynamics is the physical ability of the nervous system to move, slide, glide and accommodate human movement and function. This course will discuss the latest research in the use of neurodynamics to evaluate movement and how it may be affected when someone is in pain. The course will systematically demonstrate neurodynamic tests and movements, discuss research related to the tests, and help create a foundation upon which massage and manual therapists may utilize knowledge, movements, tests, and presentation to better assess the peripheral nervous system. In addition, this course will also discuss how the cutaneous nervous system may play a role in the presentation and treatment of pain; this is a commonly overlooked part of the peripheral nervous system.

The Business of Massage – 2 lecture credits

The course is to assist students in the basic business principles of a massage practice. Foundation information about record-keeping, advertising and marketing, and navigating the laws of massage therapy. Students will research possible career opportunities and begin to create an ideal scenario for their own practice after they graduate from NUNM. In addition, students will learn to create a business/career plan and learn certain aspects of strategic planning for the business of massage therapy.

Physics I – 4 lecture credits, 1 lab credit

This course is a non-calculus-based conceptual study of the laws of motion, forces, energy, matter, heat and thermodynamics, wave motion, sound, and light. Applications to the life sciences are emphasized, including sight, hearing, joint range of motion, nerve conduction, etc.

Course Descriptions – Electives

In addition to classes already approved and in the School of Undergraduate Studies, and/or NUNM’s other programs, here is a list of new electives:

Mindfulness and Guided Imagery – 1 lecture credit, 2 lab credits

Mindfulness is a form of attention and awareness training that helps people relate more effectively to their experiences. It involves paying attention to thoughts, feelings and body sensations in a way that increases awareness, acceptance and self-compassion to help manage difficult experiences, and create space to make wise choices. Guided imagery is a technique used to evoke feelings of relaxation; it is based on the concept of mind-body connection. Mind-body connection upholds the interaction between body and mind as one important factor in a person’s overall health and well-being. In guided imagery, a person can call on mental images to facilitate an improved sense of well-being.

Advanced Movement Massage – 2 lab credits 

This course expands upon the movement-based massage techniques course and serves as a stand-alone course as well. The overall goal of this course is to learn movement-based techniques and advanced body mechanics involved in massage sessions that utilize leverage, client and therapist movements and gravity to perform the work. Technique systems like Thai massage, shiatsu, various pin and stretch techniques all use a combination of client and therapist movement to produce the force and pressure utilized during these sessions. Consistent with our whole program is the utilization of the law of parsimony, combined with current knowledge of physiological effects of massage and point work, to deliver classes that teach the fundamental ideas behind each technique. The desired result is that students graduating from this course have a deeper, more advanced, and understanding of how various movements work to help people in pain, how they can be incorporated into a massage therapy setting, how best to apply these techniques and forces, and how to teach clients about them in the most accurate and ethical ways. Prerequisites: Must be in last year of BSiT program or current LMT

Hydrotherapy – 1 lecture, 1 lab credit

The course will present the therapeutic values of hydrotherapy-related modalities as employed in a massage therapy setting. These applications will include cryotherapy, cold and hot packs, paraffin-wax, various sheet wraps, contrast therapy, and other hydrotherapy treatments. Issues concerning clarification of indications, contraindications, precautions and physiological effects of various forms of applications will be addressed.

Dermoneuromodulation – 1 lecture, 1 lab credit

Dermoneuromodulation is a structured, interactive approach to manual therapy that considers the nervous system of the patient during a manual therapy session. Specific techniques used are slow, light, gentle, and responsive, and can be very effective. Positioning of limbs and trunk affects deeper nerve trunks (by shortening and widening their container), and is combined with skin stretch directed toward cutaneous fields of nerves that branch outward into skin.

Making Your Own Lotions, Oils, Creams and Emollients – 2 lecture, 1 lab credit 

This course is all about making your own creams, lotions, oils and emollients from natural ingredients. Create and adapt these and other water soluble solutions for various uses, including massage therapy. Make your own products from scratch, giving you complete control over your formulas and the flexibility to adapt recipes to your own requirements and specifications. Students will be taught and encouraged to think and use creativity to develop their own products. It is a practical, hands-on course with lecture time being used to deliver fundamental information to be applied during the creation processes.