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CDI College stands out among massage therapy schools for our dedication to our students' success. Our Massage Therapy diploma program prepares students to become valued, well-paid members of the healthcare industry in private clinics, medical and rehabilitation centres, hospitals, spas, fitness facilities, or as self-employed massage therapists.
This diploma program teaches fundamental massage skills such as hydrotherapy, palpation, remedial exercise, and patient assessment. Students learn different types of massage treatments, along with medical topics including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology. Courses also cover topics such as industry ethics and professional communications.
A clinical placement, under the supervision of a registered massage therapist, gives students the chance to put their education to use in a real-world setting. Graduates are encouraged to register with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) and are also eligible to sit the CMTO's certification examination in both components – Multiple Choice Questionnaire (MCQ) and Objectively Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE) – to obtain their registration certification and become a registered massage therapist.
This program is approved to be offered at the following campuses. Please contact the campus of your choosing for program availability.
Instructors are caring, thoughtful, helpful, and encouraging. The environment is friendly and teachers are always willing to help.
The purpose of the course is to build a body of knowledge of the bones and muscles of the upper body and the human trunk. Students are taught the names of the bone structures as well as the features of each bone. Of particular importance are the landmarks, a term used to describe how the bone is identifiable amongst others within the musculoskeletal system. This course includes the musculature of the upper body and trunk, the origin of the muscle tissue, its insertion, and the range of action that the muscle can undertake. Muscles respond to messages carried by the nervous system; therefore the student will study the nervous innervation of muscle in the upper body and trunk. The course includes instruction in the muscular actions, kinesiology, of the upper body and trunk – both primary and accessory actions. Myophysiology concerns itself with the operations of muscles; this course provides an introduction to that area of study.
This course runs in conjunction with Musculoskeletal Anatomy – Upper Body. Once the concepts of bony and soft tissue anatomy are communicated in the other portion of this course, actual hands-on palpation is employed to identify anatomy. Utilizing plastic skeletal models and each other, students will be guided through safe identification through palpation of the anatomy of the upper body and trunk. Appropriate informed consent and depth of palpation will also be learned. Features located on specific bones will be palpated and used as landmarks to locate the origin and insertion of muscle. Each individual muscle will be palpated utilizing land marking, visualization and isometric contraction.
The purpose of the course is to continue where the introductory weekend left off. Students will gain confidence and proficiency in providing a general full body massage, limb handling, appropriate draping, and patient interaction. The course will also explore varied positioning such as side-lying, clothed and seated massage. Concepts of safe delivery of massage will be investigated.
Professional development refers to a broad grouping of fundamental social dynamics that are core to professionalism in health care services. The course begins with an exploration of values and belief systems as these are carried forward from the personal life to the professional life. The dynamics of the person and how this is experienced by others is another focus of the course. Lastly, the course explores intra-personal and inter-personal skills and how these are managed in communities of diversity. The concept of personal space is an important one in the massage therapy profession & it needs to be well understood by those training for the profession. The nature of the therapeutic relationship includes concepts of boundaries and barriers and this will be demonstrated – especially as they affect gender and power differentials. Students are asked to contribute to the classroom learning by sharing their experiences in health care delivery and services.
In this course, the six primary focus areas are: the organization of the body, cytology, histology, tissues, organs, and organ systems. The organization of the human body is approached in terms of spheres, planes and sections of the body. Organization is also determined by body quadrants, body cavities and membranes. Cytology is the study of the formation and structure and function of cells. Histology is the anatomical study of the microscopic structure of body tissues – otherwise described as the tissue structure of an organism. Tissue is the term used to refer to the layer or group of cells that collectively form a specific function: connective, epithelial, muscular, nervous system and lymphatic. The organs of the body are those tissues that serve a particular purpose in the body’s functioning. Organ systems are generally divided into 10 groupings: cardiovascular, gastrointestinal (digestive), musculoskeletal, endocrine, Integumentary (skin), nervous, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, and blood.
The purpose of the course is to build a body of knowledge of the bones and muscles of the lower body. Students are taught the names of the bone structures as well as the features of each bone. Of particular importance are the landmarks, a term used to describe how the bone is identifiable amongst others within the musculoskeletal system. This course includes the musculature of the lower body, the origin of the muscle tissue, its insertion into the musculoskeletal composition, and the range of action that the muscle can undertake. Muscles respond to messages carried by the nervous system; therefore the student will study the nervous innervation of muscle in the lower body. The course includes instruction in the muscular actions, kinesiology, of the lower body – both primary and accessory actions.
This course runs in conjunction with Musculoskeletal Anatomy – Lower Body. This course will start where Musculoskeletal Anatomy – Upper Body and Trunk left off. Once the concepts of bony and soft tissue anatomy are communicated in the other portion of this course, actual hands-on palpation is employed to identify anatomy. Utilizing plastic skeletal models and each other, students will be guided through safe identification through palpation of the anatomy of the lower body. The student’s palpatory skills will be fine tuned as well.
Once general techniques are mastered in the previous Massage Theory 1, this course delves into the introduction of facial manipulation. Fascia is the varied connective tissues that hold the body together. Direct and indirect techniques will be shown and learned. Proper chair massage delivery utilizing a massage chair will also be gained.
In this course, there are four primary focus areas: neurophysiology, angiology, cardiology, and lymphatics. Neurophysiology is the study of the physiology of the nervous system. It includes the discussion of how the nerves work: how axions fire and dendrites operate in the chemical reactions inside the nerves. Angiology is the study of the blood and lymph vessels and the disorders associated with these systems. Cardiology is the study of the heart. The human immune system helps to protect the body against foreign cells and microbes. Respirology is the study of the respiratory system and its role in gas exchange and acid-base balance.
Professional development refers to a broad grouping of fundamental social dynamics that are core to professionalism in health care services. Included in this course is an exploration of the nature and dynamics of communications: from passive, assertive and aggressive styles, to body language. Qualities inherent in good listening skills is discussed and practiced in the class. A second focus of this course is negotiation and conflict resolution. These are subtle and important skills that are useful to the massage therapy professional. Students are asked to contribute to the classroom learning by sharing their experiences in health care delivery and services.
The course provides an introduction to neurology. This a foundational course within the MT program because all of our conscious awareness of the external environment, and all of our motor activity to cope with the external environment, operate through the Peripheral Nervous System. The Peripheral Nervous System is large and has many divisions that need to be understood by the registered massage therapist. The layout of the PNS includes the sensory – somatic division as well as the nerves and neurons that transmit information to and from the brain. The course extends the student’s understanding to the somatic and the autonomic nervous systems. A third focus of the course is directed toward muscular innervations, a term which describes the messaging that the nerves provide to the muscles in order to direct their movements.
It is key to identify pathology, change in function, and contraindications/precautions to deliver appropriate and safe massage therapy. This course will introduce the student to proper techniques and protocols of taking a full case history of a patient, interview, observation of posture, palpation for medical findings, and range of motion testing. The concepts of special testing will be introduced. Proper order and flow of assessment will be studied and practiced with patient comfort and therapist need-to-know in mind.
Arthrology is the science concerned with the anatomy, function, structure of joints and ligaments. Students are presented with joint classifications and joints function. In order to provide a full understanding of this area of physiology, the instruction includes the associated general anatomy of joints.
The use of thermal agents, water, and topical applications for therapeutic use will be studied and applied. Utilizing varied temperatures and delivery methods, the student will be able to safely apply water, paraffin wax, infrared sauna, and topical agents like poultices to the body and describe their therapeutic effect. Theoretical knowledge of topical applications will also be discussed. Specific precautions and contra-indications unique to the application of hydrotherapy will also be learned. Students will utilize the hydrotherapy equipment supplied in the Student Clinic to experience each of the treatments so as to gauge their sensation and impact to the body as well as act as therapist to deliver treatment to colleagues.
The focus of this course is towards massage techniques that are employed during rehabilitation. The application/indications for trigger point, attachment and positional release are explored. The management of swelling and application of ice massage will also be covered. The process of scar treatment in its different stages and forms will be discussed and practiced.
Remedial exercise is an integral and necessary component of massage therapy. Foundations and theory of rehabilitative exercise for health are discussed before the practical applications are taught. Stretching and strengthening are demonstrated and practiced with a focus on safe, effective method for varied pathologies and stages of injury. The student will be able to create a remedial exercise program for patients from the acute stage of injury or disease to the chronic state.
The course is an introduction to the anatomy and physiology of the Central Nervous System [CNS] and, as such, is a complement to MT206O which is a study of the Peripheral Nervous System. The Central Nervous System focuses on the brain and the spinal cord, and a primary focus of the course is on the anatomy of the brain. A secondary focus is the autonomic nervous system, which has been referred to in MT206O.
In this course, there are three primary focus areas: the gastro-intestinal system, the endocrine system, and the reproductive system. The gastro-intestinal system studies the human anatomy from the oral cavity to the anus. In the endocrine system, the focus is on the physiology of the system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone into the bloodstream. The reproductive system examines the genitalia with its connected tissues and organs.
The focus in this course is four areas: the role of massage in health care, patient/therapist relations, interdisciplinary communications, and conflicts of interest. Massage therapy in Ontario is regulated by the College of Massage Therapy of Ontario and it has a defined role in providing services to Ontario residents. Students are introduced to the role and responsibilities of the massage therapist. Patient/therapist relations call upon an understanding and appreciation for the ethical environment in which the profession is practiced. The therapist is in the position of managing the relationship and this is an important function of the professional. The third focus is interdisciplinary communications. Massage therapists must be able to communicate effectively amongst themselves as well as within the larger communities of allied health care providers, professions and services. The last focus is conflict of interest. This matter forms part of the ethical environment and discussions will take place to describe how conflict is determined and managed.
Movement and function are created by contraction of muscle tissue but the movement takes place in the joints of the body. When joints become restricted, movement becomes restricted. Students are introduced to the theory and principles of manipulation of peripheral joints to maintain or increase range of motion. Capsular patterns of restriction, arthrokinetic movements, and restrictions are learned before the proper hand placement and force of thrust are applied to each peripheral joint in the body. Legal scope of practice in Massage Therapy and grades of thrust are also highlighted.
Pathology is the study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development. and consequences. The massage therapist will have clients who are ill, and who seek treatment in massage therapy to alleviate the symptoms of illness. As a result, it is important for the RMT to understand the origin, nature and course of disease. As part of this course, instruction is delivered in infection and how infection occurs in the body. Skin diseases are examined as part of Pathology I. Skin is the body’s largest organ and, as such, an important indicator of the individual’s health. Lastly, the course includes study in orthopathology which is the study of soft tissue pathology that may include miniscal injury, bursa, ligaments, and tendons.
The basics of public/therapist interaction are employed to introduce the student to working with the general population. Students will combine all of the skills learned so far to intake, safely assess, and deliver a general relaxation treatment in the Student Clinic.
Taking skills previously acquired in anatomy, physiology, assessment, principles of treatment, therapeutic exercise, hydrotherapy, and joint mobilization the student is introduced to the theoretical treatment of pathology. Differential diagnosis and treatment for varied stages of generalized pathologies are attained. The ramifications of age, severity of injury, location of injury, motivation of the patient, and clinical prognosis will be discussed. Students will explore each type of pathology, construct a treatment plan and execute it in a simulation.
Pathology is the study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development and consequences. The massage therapist will have clients who are ill, and who seek treatment in massage therapy to alleviate the symptoms of illness. As a result, it is important for the MT to understand the origin, nature and course of disease. In this course, instruction will focus on six areas of study: systemic disorders, pathologies of the cardio and circulatory systems, pathology of the nervous system, pathology of the muscular system, pathology of the respiratory system, and pathology of the reproductive system. Systemic disorders are characterized by conditions involving the body as a whole, as opposed to limited conditions that affect particular parts of the body. The cardio and circulatory systems form another combination of ‘whole body’ pathology and is a focus of RMT treatment. Similarly, the nervous, muscular, respiratory and reproductive systems function in tandem with other body systems and the pathology may reside in condition(s) that derive from more than one system.
The course is a continuation of the anatomy and physiology of the Central Nervous System [CNS] I offered in MT304O. As with MT304O, MT403O is a complement to MT206O which is a study of the Peripheral Nervous System. The Central Nervous System focuses on the brain and the spinal cord, and a primary focus of the course is on the anatomy of the brain. An additional focus in this course is the function of the spinal cord and the special senses: vision, hearing and balance, smell, and taste.
Now that the student has a firm grasp of anatomy/physiology and has gained palpatory accuracy, more advanced techniques to manipulate the varied fascia in the body is employed. Septa, deep fascial sheets, retinacula, and ligament will be manipulated and muscular shaping will be employed. The deep investing fascia, myofascia, septa, compartments, visceral peritoneum and the cerebrospinal dura will be studied and techniques shown to reduce restriction and improve mobility for each type of tissue will be demonstrated.
Now that the Intern Therapist has become comfortable in the Clinic, the focus shifts to critical thinking in assessing and treating dysfunction. Incorporating Systemic Treatment 1 and Consolidated Treatment, the student will construct a coherent and clinically relevant treatment approach to patients. The introduction of hydrotherapy applications will be added this term.
The special needs of competitive athletes will be explored in this course. Pre and post event massage will be learned as well as variables for different sport’s needs. Running gait analysis and taping will also be covered. Some of the sports included will be runners, cyclists, swimmers, weight lifting, and track.
Pathology is the study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development and consequences. The massage therapist will have clients who are ill, and who seek treatment in massage therapy to alleviate the symptoms of illness. As a result, it is important for the RMT to understand the origin, nature and course of disease. In this course, instruction will focus on three areas of study: human growth and development over the life-span, the gastro-intestinal system and the endocrine system. These three areas of study are linked: food ingestion and waste excretion are necessary for life and growth. The endocrine system is comprised of hormones and the system coordinates metabolism, respiration, excretion, movement, reproduction and sensory perception. The endocrine guides human growth and development through the life-span.
Identification, assessment, contra-indications/precautions, and treatment planning of pathologies involving the endocrine, vascular, lymphatic, and reproductive systems are explored. Drawing on anatomy, physiology, and pathology learned in previous semesters, students will be able to recognize and safely treat the above systems when in a pathological state as they affect the entire body. Geriatric concerns are also covered in this course. Some of the pathologies studied will be healthy pregnancy, stable high blood pressure, diabetes, and tension/cluster headaches.
Expanding on the information mastered in Consolidated Treatment Techniques, pathologies of the upper extremity are studied. Specific pathologies involving the shoulder girdle, elbow, wrist and hand are explored including ideology, presentation, specific assessment markers, hands-on treatment, appropriate remedial planning, and home care. Some of the pathologies covered in this course are: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Shoulder Dislocation, Tennis/Golfer’s elbow, Pronator Teres Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The foundations of assessing and treatment planning for orthopathology in the cervical and thoracic spines will be set in this course before specific pathology is highlighted and expanded upon. The spinal column is the foundations for the central nervous system as well as the pillar of the body. Great care must be taken when identifying, assessing, and treating pathology in this region. Specific and detailed involved anatomy will be highlighted as well as contra-indications or precautions to treatment. Some of the pathologies studied will be: Whiplash, Nerve Root Impingement, Disc Herniation, and Rib Subluxation.
Drawing from neuro-anatomy and previous treatment related courses, pathology of the peripheral nervous system is studied. Specific assessment tools, treatment techniques and contra-indications/precautions are added to knowledge already attained to give the student therapist confidence in assessing and treating nerve pathologies. Some of the pathologies studied in this course are: Plexal Impingement, Radial Nerve Palsy, Klumpke’s Paralysis, and Foot Drop.
Each student will perform one 4 to 5 hour shift in the supervised Student Clinic or Outreach per week. As the student adds more knowledge to their assessment and treatment base in the classroom, these tools are employed in the treatment room or outreach with members of the public. More specific assessment skills including interview, special testing, and critical thinking will be highlighted this semester.
Expanding on the principles and skills gained in Systemic Treatments I, more unstable and devastating systemic pathology is studied. Exploration of end of life diseases from the patient and therapist’s perspectives are studied and applied. Identification, assessment and treatment of the systemic arthritides, unstable cardiovascular pathology, and immune diseases will be covered. Mental health and addictions will also be explored.
This course is a companion to Orthopedic Treatments – Upper Extremity delivered in term 5. Utilizing the strategies and skills gained in the previous course, Orthopathology of the lower extremity is examined. Disease of the muscle, bone and joint found in the hip, knee, ankle and foot are studied. As in the other course identification, specific assessment, treatment and homecare are explored. Some of the specific pathologies studied are: osteoarthritis, hamstring strain, patellar tracking, cruciate instability, ankle sprains, and plantar fasciitis.
Utilizing skill sets attained in Orthopedic Treatment – Upper Spinal from the previous semester, the exploration of pathology in the spinal column continues. The focus of this course will be the Lumbar, Sacral, and Coccygeal segments. As in previous courses, skills in correct identification of pathology, specific assessment markers, treatment techniques, and home care will be attained. Some of the specific pathologies studied are: osteoarthritis, disc herniation/prolapse, spinal instability, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis.
Drawing from neuro-anatomy and previous treatment related courses, pathology of the Central nervous system is studied. Specific assessment tools, treatment techniques and contra-indications/precautions are added to knowledge already attained to give the student therapist confidence in assessing and treating brain and spinal pathologies. Safe patient transfers will also be included to protect both patient and therapist. Some of the specific pathologies studied are: Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, traumatic spinal cord injury with resultant paralysis, stroke, and hemiplegia.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the foundations of research and studies that form the basis for professional practice. The term ‘research literacy’ refers to the capacity to identify a challenge and to determine the resources required to guide professional practice in order to address the challenge. In the course of gaining an appreciation for research literacy, students are guided in their understanding of, and distinctions between, good and poor method. Students have the opportunity to discuss research methods and findings, and to understand how the methodology and findings have contributed to the development of the massage therapy profession. Similarly, continuing research has contributed to the evolution of some techniques – and changes in other techniques. Another major focus of this course is the philosophy of Evidence-Based Practice.
This semester the focus shifts from the Supervision staff helping create treatment approaches and goals to the Intern Therapist identifying dysfunction and developing a complete approach.
The course addresses a number of basic premises upon which the practitioner makes decisions regarding professional practice. The core questions are: How do you want to practice? And where do you want to work? There are business considerations such as clinic ownership and associateship relationships. Tangibles include the negotiation of leases and contracts. There are also municipal bylaws and taxation to be considered. This course is offered alongside MT702O Law and Regulation.
The course considers the regulatory and legal aspects that affect Registered Massage Therapists in Ontario. Included is a review of the bylaws of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario and its role in the regulation of the profession, Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics. The course will cover the various rules regulations and documentation directing the therapist on the legalities of practicing as Massage therapist in Ontario. The backdrop of this course will be the various laws and acts impacting the profession.
Continuing along the same assessment and treatment philosophies of previous terms, this course delves into systemic pathology caused by respiratory and gastrointestinal disease as well as cancer. Some of the specific pathologies covered will be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, Crohn’s disease, and specific cancers.
This half semester course focuses on 10 areas that compose the nutritional understanding for massage therapists. Nutrition is viewed in its relationship with the prevention of disease. The nutritive values and the dietary requirements of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins are presented. The nutritive values of vitamins and provitamins are discussed, as are their food sources and dietary requirements. A similar approach is taken with minerals. The course completes with a discussion of the physiological need for water, nutritional deficiencies, and dietary considerations.
The course provides instruction in the general principles and terminology of pharmacology. There is a focus on the common classification of drugs, as well as the common classes of drugs – and their uses and effects. Specific Contraindications, precautions and adaptations to treatment due to medications will be studied. Lastly, it is important for the massage therapist to understand the importance of medication considerations when taking the client’s case history.
The focus of this half semester course is on the common types of surgical procedures including orthopaedic and cardiovascular procedures. The complications of these bear special attention. In addition, the course presents information about the absolute and relative contraindications for post-surgical treatment – as well as general considerations and precautions in massage therapy treatments relative to post-surgical care.
The Massage Therapy program gives students the basic tools and competencies to practice safely and effectively, but learning and honing skill is a lifelong endeavor. Due to regulatory requirements of the College of Massage Therapist of Ontario, massage therapists must perform a required number of continuing education every two years. This course gives students an introduction to techniques that are learned at the post graduate level, allows them to make appropriate choices as to which fields they may want to further explore. As well, massage therapy is only one component of the health care field. This course will also expose students to different regulated health care practices that may benefit their patients. Some of the techniques/professional practices explored are CranioSacral, Manual Lymph Drainage, Rolphing, Acupuncture, and Naturopathy.
This course is designed to serve as a comprehensive academic review of the Anatomy and Physiology content. Each body system will be reviewed in depth, and this is supplemented with the Pathology components that correspond to each body system in order to allow for synthesis of the material.
The purpose of this course is to provide the students with the opportunity to apply their practical and clinical skills in a variety of settings by providing massage therapy to the general public. Students will be required to participate in scheduled events that may range from sporting events, community functions, fairs, retirement homes only to name a few. The objectives of the course will be achieved through students applying their knowledge of massage in a variety of settings outside of the school, providing massage therapy to the public at scheduled times and events as they become available. Evaluation of the student may be based on a variety of means including professional behaviour, professional appearance, positive attitude, being on time and leaving at the appropriate time, adhering to the recognized standards of practice, documenting their interventions in a clear and complete manner. Students must keep a journal of their Outreach activities where they log the hours performed, locations, circumstances and cases, and techniques that they used.
The continued evolution of the student therapist’s abilities to function independently is highlighted. The student must also utilize techniques conveyed in Business Practice (MT701O) to maintain and bolster a Clinical following.
Research and evidence based practice is now the keystone of massage therapy delivery. Each student is expected to create a publishable research paper that includes in-depth research into a chosen pathology, application of that research into a proper assessment and treatment plan for an individual experiencing that pathology, execution of the treatment plan, and their results/conclusions. Every student will be assigned an advisor during this process. Each paper will be submitted for marking as well as performing a proper presentation to their peers for review. The scheduled classroom allotted time is for presentations and peer review.
During the full educational process integration is stressed; however, there is the possibility of compartmentalization. This course is utilized to reinforce application of ALL the didactic and practical programming in a cohesive and relevant manner. Reintroduction of simple concepts and techniques first explored in the program are re-examined and integrated. This is also a forum for each individual student to bring forth ideas and concepts for clarity in a peer supportive environment.
The purpose of the course is to bring together the learning from the previous seven terms, and to consolidate the learning from the many perspectives of anatomical knowledge and the principles of treatment. As a result, Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Kinesiology Consolidation is both a didactic and a practical class, allowing the student to demonstrate understanding and applied skills in the last term of the program.
This course is designed to serve as a comprehensive academic review of the Anatomy and Physiology and Pathology content. The organization of the body, organs, and organ systems will be the main components. In this course, the primary focus areas are: muscular system, nervous system, the spinal cord and brain, the special senses, the blood, blood vessels, cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system, the respiratory system, gastrointestinal (digestive), metabolism, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, and the endocrine system will all be covered.
As this is the last semester of the program, the onus is placed directly on the Intern Therapist. Reporting structures to Clinic Supervisors will be reduced and the students will be expected to utilize all of their learned competencies. Although reporting will be reduced, Supervision will still be present at all times but in the background.
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