Continuing Education Classes

CE classes at PNWSM are shorter and more flexible than the typical two- or three-day weekend CE class. Brian's Ballard classes are limited to 8-12 students, and are more personalized than larger, more formal, CE classes. The emphasis is on really learning and retaining the information, rather than just being exposed to it.

All classes are NCB approved (NCB #451040-09) unless otherwise noted, and valid for NCB, AMTA, and WA state CE Credit. You will be issued a certificate at the end of class.

Assessment and Treatment of the Cervical Ligaments (Billings, MT) [Sold Out]

The neck is one of the most common areas of client complaint, injury and dysfunction, and it can be a challenging area to treat effectively. Injured or irritated neck ligaments can be particularly vexing; besides causing deep pain, they can provoke a guarding response in the nearby muscles, causing additional pain, tension, and limitation of movement.  

In this class we will explore the deeper terrain of the neck, concentrating on the key ligamentous and related muscular and fascial structures that, when injured, often create chronic neck pain and tension. The cervical ligaments are every bit as important as the muscles, bones, and fascia, but are often overlooked by massage therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists.  

You will learn assessment and palpation skills that will help you to identify the ligamentous structures that need treatment, make sure it is appropriate to do so, and treat the injured structures. A primary focus of this class is to help you refine your accuracy in both palpation and treatment, and to help you develop more confidence, specificity and thoroughness in your neck assessment and treatment. Clients notice the difference right away when they feel you touch the "right spots", and their chronic pain and tension begins to dissolve from the inside out.

"This was one of the most informative classes I've taken in a long time. The material is very useful for my clinical practice." - Sabrina Sargent

"This class was ridiculously useful. I will be using these techniques immediately and daily." - Robin Mayberry

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 8
Location: Billings, MT
Date and Time: Saturday, July 22nd, 10am-7pm
Tuition: $160 if registered by July 5th; $180 thereafter. 

Registration: This class is sold out. If you'd like to get on the waiting list, please contact Jessica Powell Riley at jessicapowellriley@gmail.com.

For those registered, the remaining balance ($100) is due at class, payable by cash or check only, made out to PNWSM.

 

Muscle-Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Posterior, Lateral and Anterior Neck (Jackson, WY)

The neck is a strong, vulnerable and complex structure. It is the most movable part of the spine, and yet is strong enough to balance and support the head (10-11 pounds), even with chronically poor posture. Skillful deep tissue work in this area is not about brute force; it's about precision and strategy, informed by knowledge of the anatomical structures. It's rare to find massage therapists who really know how to massage the neck in a precise, specific way–especially around the small muscular attachments to the transverse processes-–even though this is often where the muscles are most frayed and/or inflamed.

In the morning you will learn specific techniques for releasing the cervical posterior paraspinal muscles (longissimus, semispinalis capitis, multifidus), suboccipital triangle, levator scapula (especially the cervical attachments), facet joints, splenius capitus and cervicis, posterior, middle, and anterior scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, and masseter. 

In the afternoon we will focus on deep muscle-specific techniques for the anterior neck. Many people learned in massage school to avoid this area, but it responds safely and well to skilled and precise touch. We will focus on the scalene, suprahyoid, infrahyoid, and longus capitus and colli groups. This is really helpful work for clients who have been in car accidents, have emotional issues with their necks or throats, or use their voices professionally (eg, singers). 

These are straightforward, muscle-specific techniques that can be immediately applied in practice. The work is well-suited to either treating cervical injuries or improving your spa massage, and will increase your precision, palpatory sensitivity, and effectiveness. Body mechanics will also be a focus of the class as well as proper use of fingers to save wear and tear on joints. 

"I honestly learned more in your neck class than any other CE I've taken, and I've been at it almost 13 years." -Tracey Brandt 

"This is the best neck class I've ever taken." - Barbara Rue

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 8
Date and Time: Wednesday, July 26th, 9:30am-6:30pm
Location: Jackson, WY
Tuition: $160 if registered by July 17th, $185 thereafter.

Registration: A non-refundable $60 deposit is required to save your space. You can contact Elizabeth Drapela at edrapela2@yahoo.com or 307-690-1117. You may also click here to pay the deposit online. The balance is due at class, payable to the instructor, by cash or check only.

Questions? Contact Elizabeth Drapela at edrapela2@yahoo.com or 307-690-1117.

 

Muscle-Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Paraspinals and Side-Lying Shoulders (Bozeman, MT)

Besides being deeply comforting and relaxing, skilled side-lying work gives you excellent access to the structures of the shoulder. In this class you will learn specific, effective, and potent techniques for releasing the muscles of the shoulder girdle, including the trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior, levator scapula, subscapularis, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, pectoralis minor, and the surrounding fascia. Our shoulders are meant to float freely on our ribcages, held in suspension by 16 muscles, but very often they are restricted, stuck down, and in pain. You will learn to effectively liberate any glued-down scapular structures and give your clients a feeling ease and freedom in their back and shoulders. 

You will also learn some focused, muscle-specific work to release bound up erector spinae and transversospinalis muscles. These muscles are often a major source of pain and limitation for our clients. The side-lying position gives you excellent access to some of the smaller muscles of the back, as well as their fascial wrappings--structures that are fundamentally important to our posture, movement, and well-being, but that are often completely missed in a standard massage. 

We sometimes think of side-lying work as primarily for pregnant women, but almost all of your clients can benefit from skilled side-lying work in this area, and it feels wonderful. The class will focus on straightforward, muscle-specific techniques that can be immediately applied in practice. Body mechanics will also be a focus of this class, as well as proper use of fingers and elbows to save wear and tear on joints.

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 7.5
Date and Time: Saturday, July 29th, 10am-6:30pm
Location: Bozeman, MT

Tuition: $160 if registered with a $60 deposit by July 18th, $180 thereafter. Register for both this class and the July 30th Visceral class for only $280, if registered with $120 deposit by July 18th. Price goes up to $320 for the two-class package after July 18th.

Registration: A non-refundable $60 per-class deposit is required to save your space. Click here to pay the deposit online. The balance is due at class, payable to the instructor, by cash or check only.

You may also send a non-refundable $60 or $120 deposit check made out to Tamara Leach, 2000 Fairway Dr. Suite 108, Bozeman, MT 59715. Please send the deposit only, and not the full amount.

Questions: Contact Tamara Leach in Bozeman at tamaraleachmassage@gmail.com, or at 406-220-5533. Contact Brian in Seattle at info@pnwschool.com.

 

Introduction to Visceral and Abdominal Massage (Bozeman, MT)

The viscera are at the very core of our body, and are, along with our nervous system, a primary source of life. They are at the center of our structure, our emotions, our biochemistry, and our life energy. There are over 500 million neurons in the belly (about 5 times more than in the spinal cord), and our enteric nervous system is a primary source of our intuition and "gut" feelings.

When we are anxious or distressed, our natural instinct is to protect our soft underbelly and "stuff" emotions there, causing multilayered problems throughout the body. The smooth muscles of the gut contract, pulling on the surrounding mesentery and fascia, causing not only gut pain, but back pain. In addition, surgery can create adhesions and multi-directional disruptions in the abdominal fascia and musculature. It is ironic that this vital healing area is often overlooked in massage.

The sensitivity and vulnerability of the belly is precisely why it is so receptive to safe, calming, and nourishing touch. We can soothe the enteric nervous system and the soft underbelly, sending waves of deep relaxation throughout the entire body. We can relax the smooth muscles of the intestines, which reduces pain, improves digestive function, and eases the fascial pull in the back and other areas of the body. We can sometimes separate post-surgical adhesions, creating balance and increased ease of movement at the very core of the body.

In this class you will learn simple and effective abdominal massage techniques that are easy to integrate into your massage practice. You will learn the basic layout of some of the area's major anatomical structures and how to identify, palpate, and treat them. This class will make your abdominal work more comforting, intelligent, and effective. You will be able to help your clients achieve deeper states of relaxation, relieve pain, improve digestive function, and help free up deep structural imbalances.

"I was expecting a belly massage class and walked away with a deep understanding of the abdomen. This class was incredible."- KC Johnston, LMP and Doula

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 7.5
Date and Time: Sunday, July 30th, 10am-6:30pm
Location: Bozeman, MT

Tuition: $160 if registered with a $60 deposit by July 18th, $180 thereafter. Register for both this class and the July 29th Back and Shoulder class for only $280, if registered with $120 deposit by July 18th. Price goes up to $320 for the two-class package after July 18th.

Registration: A non-refundable $60 per-class deposit is required to save your space. Click here to pay the deposit online. The balance is due at class, payable to the instructor, by cash or check only.

You may also send a non-refundable $60 or $120 deposit check made out to Tamara Leach, 2000 Fairway Dr. Suite 108, Bozeman, MT 59715. Please send the deposit only, and not the full amount.

Questions: Contact Tamara Leach in Bozeman at tamaraleachmassage@gmail.com, or at 406-220-5533. Contact Brian in Seattle at info@pnwschool.com.

 

Frozen Shoulder - and How to Unfreeze It

This class is not NCBTMB-approved for CE credit.

Frozen shoulder is looked upon as a curse that comes from nowhere, stopping one’s shoulder from all movements--often painfully. Doctors and physical therapists will sometimes team up and try to pry it open, just to get it to move. But the shoulder often stays immobile, and the options become progressively more dismal. 

The shoulder is intrinsically a mobile joint, designed to maximize freedom of movement in several directions. If it becomes too unstable or overstressed, it has an innate ability to demand security and stiffness. However, when the shoulder girdle is balanced, stable, and has appropriate movement patterns, it can naturally move freely again. 

In this class, you will learn to work with the body’s wisdom to resolve frozen shoulder issues, including establishing a base of support in the thorax and shoulder girdle, appropriate movement patterns, and fascial release techniques. 

Instructor: Carri Kaplan, PT, LMP (MA#08963)
CE hours: 
Date and Time: Wednesday, August 2nd, 7-11pm
Location: Seattle (Ballard area)
Tuition: $60.

Registration: A non-refundable $40 deposit is required to save your space. Click here to pay the deposit online. The balance is due at class, payable to the instructor, by cash or check only.

 

Ethics, Supervision, Boundaries and State Law

We will begin with a thorough review of state massage law, and some interesting, important, and occasionally upsetting changes to the law. After a review of professional ethics, roles, and boundaries, we will take a more personal approach to professional ethics. Ethics is a living subject and is best learned in a live, interactive format. As massage practitioners, we work closely and intimately with our clients, but we often experience isolation and burnout in our own practices. When ethical conflicts, confusions, and challenges inevitably arise, we often feel that we have no place to take them.  

In this peer supervision class, we will explore your current professional issues and dilemmas, whether they be interpersonal, ethical, financial, or other. This is not a 'you should eat your vegetables' approach to ethics, but rather an opportunity to draw support and gain insight from your peers and mentors. The class size will be quite small and intimate, with a maximum of 9 students. You will return to your practice refreshed and with a deeper sense of clarity.

"This the only ethics class I've ever taken that I wish were longer." -Mariah Vanhee
"This was the best ethics class I've ever taken." - Darcy Hovard, Erin Morgan
"This class was far better time spent than an internet facsimile of an ethics class." - Christian Green
"Masterfully organized, and complete in subject coverage, handouts, and time management." - Barbara Johnson

Instructor: Brian Utting and De'Anna Dean
Ethics CE hours: 7 ethics CE hours, meets WA state ethics requirement
Date and Time: Saturday, August 5th, 11am - 6:30pm
Location: Seattle (Ballard area)
Tuition: $120 if registered by July 31st, $140 thereafter. 

Registration: A non-refundable $60 deposit is required to save your space. Click here to pay the deposit online. The balance is due at class, payable to the instructor, by cash or check only.

 

Muscle-Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Back

We will focus on some precise, muscle-specific Deep Tissue techniques for the back that are probably different from, but complementary to what you learned in massage school and elsewhere. These are straightforward, muscle-specific techniques that will improve the precision and effectiveness of your back massage, and they can be immediately applied in practice. The emphasis of techniques will be on releasing and unbinding the erector spinae, transversospinalis group, lumbodorsal fascia, quadratus lumborum (QL) and serratus posterior inferior from the prone position. You will also learn some powerful seated Deep Tissue techniques to release the fascia of the trapezius, rhomboids, and levator scapulae.

Students who have taken this class have reported that it helped to increase their precision, palpatory sensitivity, and effectiveness with their back massages, and that they were able to integrate the techniques into their practices right away; client response was strongly positive. Body mechanics will also be a focus of this class, as well as proper use of fingers and elbows to save wear and tear on joints.

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 4.5
Date and Time: Wednesday, August 9th, 2:30-7pm
Location: Seattle (Wallingford/Fremont area)
Tuition: $90 if registered by August 2nd, $105 thereafter.

Registration: This class is sponsored by the Therapeutic Training Center. Click here to register.
 

Muscle-Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Legs & Hips (Juneau, AK)

The legs are often treated for the least amount of time in a session. Yet they support the upper body and are under tremendous compressive force, whether moving or stationary. When the structures of the feet and legs are functioning properly, they are one of the fundamental anchors of our stability and support. When they're not, they are a major contributor to foot, knee, hip, and low back issues. 

In this class, you will learn specific, potent, and effective Deep Tissue techniques to release the muscles and fascia of the hips, legs and feet. Some of the specific muscle groups you will work with include the deep calf flexors (tibialis posterior, flexor hallucis, flexor digitorum), the anterior compartment (tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum), the quadriceps group, the tensor fascia latae and IT tract, the gluteals, the deep lateral rotators, hamstrings, and adductors. These are simple, straightforward, muscle-specific techniques that can be immediately applied in practice. Body mechanics will also be a focus of the class, as wells as proper use of hands, elbows, and forearms to save wear and tear on joints.

"So many new, practical techniques to try! All really great stuff." -Chrisann Rauschenbach
"This was the best adductor work I've ever had." -Crystal Johnson
"This was exactly what I was hoping for – super great, specific work." -Leah Grossman

Instructor: Brian Utting 
CE hours: 8 
Date and Time: Saturday, August 26th, 10am-7pm
Location: Juneau, AK

Tuition: $175 if registered and deposited by August 15th; $200 thereafter. Register for both the August 26th MSDT for Legs and Hips class and the August 27th Assessment and Treatment of Cervical Ligaments class for only $300 ($100 deposit required). The price for the 2-class package goes up to $350 after August 15th.

Registration: To register by check or cash, send a $50 per class non-refundable deposit to Evelyn Bass, 2967 Nowell Ave, Juneau, AK 99801. Please send the deposit only, and not the full amount. To register online, click here

Questions: Contact Evelyn Bass in Juneau: evelyntherese@gmail.com, or at 907-957-6459. You can contact Brian in Seattle at info@pnwschool.com.

 

Assessment and Treatment of the Cervical Ligaments (Juneau, AK)

The neck is one of the most common areas of client complaint, injury and dysfunction, and it can be a challenging area to treat effectively. Injured or irritated neck ligaments can be particularly vexing; besides causing deep pain, they can provoke a guarding response in the nearby muscles, causing additional pain, tension, and limitation of movement.  

In this class we will explore the deeper terrain of the neck, concentrating on the key ligamentous and related muscular and fascial structures that, when injured, often create chronic neck pain and tension. The cervical ligaments are every bit as important as the muscles, bones, and fascia, but are often overlooked by massage therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists.  

You will learn assessment and palpation skills that will help you to identify the ligamentous structures that need treatment, make sure it is appropriate to do so, and treat the injured structures. A primary focus of this class is to help you refine your accuracy in both palpation and treatment, and to help you develop more confidence, specificity and thoroughness in your neck assessment and treatment. Clients notice the difference right away when they feel you touch the "right spots", and their chronic pain and tension begins to dissolve from the inside out.

"This was one of the most informative classes I've taken in a long time. The material is very useful for my clinical practice." - Sabrina Sargent
"This class was ridiculously useful. I will be using these techniques immediately and daily." - Robin Mayberry

Instructor: Brian Utting 
CE hours: 8 
Date and Time: Sunday, August 27th, 10am-7pm
Location: Juneau, AK

Tuition: $175 if registered and deposited by August 15th; $200 thereafter. Register for both the August 26th MSDT for Legs and Hips class and the August 27th Assessment and Treatment of Cervical Ligaments class for only $300 ($100 deposit required). The price for the 2-class package goes up to $350 after August 15th.

Registration: To register by check or cash, send a $50 per class non-refundable deposit to Evelyn Bass, 2967 Nowell Ave, Juneau, AK 99801. Please send the deposit only, and not the full amount. To register online, click here

Questions: Contact Evelyn Bass in Juneau: evelyntherese@gmail.com, or at 907-957-6459. You can contact Brian in Seattle at info@pnwschool.com.

 

Muscle-Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Legs & Hips (Anchorage, AK)

The legs are often treated for the least amount of time in a session. Yet they support the upper body and are under tremendous compressive force, whether moving or stationary. When the structures of the feet and legs are functioning properly, they are one of the fundamental anchors of our stability and support. When they're not, they are a major contributor to foot, knee, hip, and low back issues. 

In this class, you will learn specific, potent, and effective Deep Tissue techniques to release the muscles and fascia of the hips, legs and feet. Some of the specific muscle groups you will work with include the deep calf flexors (tibialis posterior, flexor hallucis, flexor digitorum), the anterior compartment (tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum), the quadriceps group, the tensor fascia latae and IT tract, the gluteals, the deep lateral rotators, hamstrings, and adductors. These are simple, straightforward, muscle-specific techniques that can be immediately applied in practice. Body mechanics will also be a focus of the class, as wells as proper use of hands, elbows, and forearms to save wear and tear on joints.

"So many new, practical techniques to try! All really great stuff." -Chrisann Rauschenbach
"This was the best adductor work I've ever had." -Crystal Johnson
"This was exactly what I was hoping for – super great, specific work." -Leah Grossman

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 8
Date and Time: Saturday, September 9th, 10am-7pm
Location: Anchorage, AK

Tuition: $175 if registered and deposited by August 31st; $200 thereafter. Register for both the September 9th MSDT for Legs and Hips class and the September 10th MSDT for the Torso class for only $300 ($100 deposit required). The price for the 2-class package goes up to $350 after August 31st.

Registration: To register by check or cash, send a $50 per class non-refundable deposit to Cat Rose, c/o Active Health Solutions, 1000 O'Malley Rd. Suite 102, Anchorage, AK 99515. Please send the deposit only, and not the full amount. To register online, click here

Questions: Contact Cat Rose in Anchorage: alaskanbutterfly@hotmail.com, or at 907-830-1075. You can contact Brian in Seattle at info@pnwschool.com.

 

Muscle-Specific DT Techniques for the Torso - Iliopsoas, Diaphragm, QL & Paraspinals (Anchorage, AK)

These muscular structures support the core--they are integral to maintaining balance, structural alignment, ease of breathing, mobility, and the ability to function without lower back pain. In the morning, you will learn specific, potent, and effective Deep Tissue techniques to release the iliopsoas, diaphragm, QL, lower multifidus, and the lumbodorsal fascia. These are straightforward, muscle-specific techniques that can be immediately applied in practice, often with profound results. There will be a concise and insightful anatomy review of these structures with an eye toward fascial continuities and the functional relationships between them. We will also focus correct placement and proper use of fingers, knuckles, and elbows for optimal results.

In the afternoon we will focus on some muscle-specific Deep Tissue techniques for the Paraspinals (erector spinae and transversospinalis) that are different from but complementary to what you learned in massage school or elsewhere. The emphasis will be on releasing and unbinding the erector spinae group, the transversospinalis group, the lumbodorsal fascia, and the quadratus lumborum. These muscle-specific techniques will improve the precision and effectiveness of your back massage, and can be easily integrated to your style of bodywork. Body mechanics will continue to be a focus of the class, as well as proper use of elbows, fingers and knuckles to save wear and tear on joints. Students who have taken this class have reported that they were able to apply the techniques in their practices right away and that their clients loved the results, feeling a newfound sense of freedom and ease in their backs.

"This is one of the most practical classes I've ever taken. Brian presented useful information and then taught practical application of this info. He walked us through how to find each muscle--something I have always wished other instructors would do. I left the training with expanded skills and knowledge, which I have been able to use right away with my clients." - Evelyn Bass

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 
Date and Time: Sunday, September 10th, 10am-7pm
Location: Anchorage, AK

Tuition: $175 if registered and deposited by August 31st; $200 thereafter. Register for both the September 9th MSDT for Legs and Hips class and the September 10th MSDT for the Torso class for only $300 ($100 deposit required). The price for the 2-class package goes up to $350 after August 31st.

Registration: To register by check or cash, send a $50 per class non-refundable deposit to Cat Rose, c/o Active Health Solutions, 1000 O'Malley Rd. Suite 102, Anchorage, AK 99515. Please send the deposit only, and not the full amount. To register online, click here

Questions: Contact Cat Rose in Anchorage: alaskanbutterfly@hotmail.com, or at 907-830-1075. You can contact Brian in Seattle at info@pnwschool.com.

 

Professional Ethics: Massage, Unlicensed Practice, Prostitution, Human Trafficking- What's Going On?

What is one of the fastest-growing segments of the massage industry in Washington? Massage as health care? Day spas? Massage Envy-type franchises? It may surprise you to learn that the fastest-growing segment may be illegitimate, unlicensed practice fronting as licensed, regulated massage. In addition, foot spas, massage parlors engaged in prostitution, and even human trafficking operations (using massage as a cover) have all grown at an alarming rate in the past few years. Although we would like to believe there is less confusion now than there used to be about who we are and what we do as LMT's, public confusion about massage has quietly gotten worse in the past several years.

This is why our professional associations are now getting involved in the fight against human trafficking, and to some extent, why we are facing annual licensing fee increases here in Washington for investigative and other regulatory costs. In addition, changes are coming to our massage laws with regard to draping, charting, breast massage, and more. What are the real concerns and issues with human trafficking and illegitimate massage in our communities? 

While the vast majority of us have conscientiously gone about our work as massage therapists, others have generated complaints related to unlicensed practice, sexually inappropriate behavior, and worse--all under our good name. The result? More rules, more regulations, and more costs for legitimate LMTs, not to mention continued confusion in the public’s eye about who we are and what we do. When we demand action from the DOH, we’re often told there’s little that can be done, as there are simply not enough resources to investigate all the complaints; meanwhile, more rules and regulations are being written affecting how we practice bodywork. 

This 5-hour CE class, which meets the Washington State CE and NCBTMB requirements for professional ethics, takes an in-depth, candid look at these issues. This class will support you in protecting our profession and educating our clients in an environment that can be confusing and even dangerous. A portion of the class will also specifically address personal safety for massage practitioners, including basic self defense strategies and how to minimize interfacing with sketchy and/or dangerous clients. Your instructor, Lavon Watson, is a massage therapist and retired police detective who has been studying these issues since 2008.

The challenging situation we are facing is a perfect storm of legal, legislative, economic, cultural and law enforcement issues. This class is a call to action–our response will need to be organized, nuanced, and multifaceted if we are going to disentangle legitimate massage from illicit massage and prostitution. This course will help you to understand the threat to our profession, protect yourself, and recognize the power we have to make positive changes to turn this situation around.

Instructor: Lavon Watson, LMT, Retired Police Detective
CE hours: 5; meets WA State and NCBTMB Ethics requirements
Date and Time: Sunday, September 10th, 10am-4pm
Location: Seattle (Phinney Ridge Community Center)
Tuition: $95 if registered by August 31st, $105 thereafter.

Registration: A non-refundable $45 deposit is required to save your space. Click here to pay the deposit online. The balance is due at class, payable to the instructor, by cash or check only.

 

The Neuroendocrine System, Stress, and Massage

In order to improve the quality of their bodywork, most massage therapists focus on learning new techniques to add to their tool belts. But paradoxically, the most important element in successful massage outcomes might not be WHAT techniques you do, but HOW you do them, and WHO you are when you're doing them. In other words, the kind of relatedness you establish with your clients, and your own internal state as you engage with them, may be the most important influencers on the quality and outcome of your work, as well as your clients' overall massage experience. 

Humans (and all mammals) engage in something called 'limbic resonance', where the internal state of one can deeply influence the internal state of the other, and vice versa. This can happen very rapidly, and often subliminally. To say it another way, others feel and respond to our inner states, and we in turn respond to theirs. We can actually regulate the internal state of another, and they can help regulate us. This is a fundamental and necessary part of human experience, and a huge benefit of massage, whether our clients (and we) know it or not.

In addition, as massage therapists, we are often looked upon as stress-management specialists--our clients are looking for relief from their stresses, and we are not only trying to help them, but are trying to manage our own stresses as well. But what is this thing we call stress? How do we create deep states of calm in ourselves and others? And since stress is not going away, how do we effectively work with it? 

In this class we will explore the nature of stress, some of its paradoxes, and how to skillfully work with them. We will examine the anatomy and physiology of the autonomic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis of the endocrine system; how those systems upregulate in times of stress, and why. We will investigate the etiology of stress-related diseases and disorders caused by autonomic-neuroendocrine imbalance; they are rampant in our culture. We will then look at how massage can remedy distress and stress disorders, and positively influence health and balance. We will also review some common (and successful) stress management approaches, including yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction, breathing, counseling, diet, biofeedback, exercise, hydrotherapy, attitude, and loving, supportive relationships. You will learn how to better manage your own stresses, and how to help your clients manage theirs.  

Instructor: Brian Utting 
CE hours: 8
Date and Time: Saturday, September 16th, 10am-7pm
Location: Seattle 

Tuition: $130 if registered by September 8th; $150 thereafter. Save $30 if you register for both this class and Introduction to Visceral and Abdominal Massage on Sunday, September 17th.

Registration: This class is sponsored by the Therapeutic Training Center. Click here to register. To register for both Saturday, September 16th and Sunday, September 17th, click here.

 

Introduction to Visceral and Abdominal Massage

The viscera are at the very core of our body, and are, along with our nervous system, a primary source of life. They are at the center of our structure, our emotions, our biochemistry, and our life energy. There are over 500 million neurons in the belly (almost 5 times more than in the spinal cord), and our enteric nervous system is a primary source of our intuition and "gut" feelings.

When we are anxious or distressed, our natural instinct is to protect our soft underbelly and "stuff" emotions there, causing multilayered problems throughout the body. The smooth muscles of the gut contract, pulling on the surrounding mesentery and fascia, causing not only gut pain, but back pain. In addition, surgery can create adhesions and multi-directional disruptions in the abdominal fascia and musculature. It is ironic that this vital healing area is often overlooked in massage.

The sensitivity and vulnerability of the belly is precisely why it is so receptive to safe, calming, and nourishing touch. We can soothe the enteric nervous system and the soft underbelly, sending waves of deep relaxation throughout the entire body. We can relax the smooth muscles of the intestines, which reduces pain, improves digestive function, and eases the fascial pull in the back and other areas of the body. We can sometimes separate post-surgical adhesions, creating balance and increased ease of movement at the very core of the body.

In this class you will learn simple and effective abdominal massage techniques that are easy to integrate into your massage practice. You will learn the basic layout of some of the area's major anatomical structures and how to identify, palpate, and treat them. This class will make your abdominal work more comforting, intelligent, and effective. You will be able to help your clients achieve deeper states of relaxation, relieve pain, improve digestive function, and help free up deep structural imbalances.

"I was expecting a belly massage class and walked away with a deep understanding of the abdomen. This class was incredible." - KC Johnston, LMP and Doula

Instructor: Brian Utting 
CE hours: 8
Date and Time: Sunday, September 17th, 10am-7pm
Location: Seattle 

Tuition: $160 if registered by September 8th; $185 thereafter. Save $30 if you register for both this class and The Neuroendocrine System, Stress, and Massage class on Saturday, September 16th.

Registration: This class is sponsored by the Therapeutic Training Center. Click here to register. To register for both Saturday, September 16th and Sunday, September 17th, click here.

 

Evaluation and Treatment of Shoulder Injuries (Austin, TX)

A lot of our clients suffer from chronic rotator cuff injuries that seem to stubbornly persist using conventional massage techniques. Learn precise and specific orthopedic assessments and thumbs-free techniques to identify and successfully treat some of the most common injuries to the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, long head of the biceps and acromioclavicular joint. The class will include a review of rotator cuff anatomy, palpation of the rotator cuff muscles and related structures, and instruction in appropriate treatment massage techniques to treat the soft tissue lesions. You will also receive a detailed 30-page handbook for future reference.

"This shoulder class was the best class and instruction I've ever had." - Deborah Luger

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 8
Date and Time: Saturday, September 23rd, 9:30am-6:30pm
Location: Austin, TX

Tuition: $195, or $325 if you register for both this class and Muscle-Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Shoulder Girdle on Sunday, September 24th.

Registration: This class is sponsored by the Lauterstein-Conway Massage School. Click here to register.

 

Muscle-Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Paraspinals and Side-Lying Shoulders (Austin, TX)

The shoulders are meant to float freely on the ribcage, held in elegant suspension by 16 muscles, but very often they are restricted, stuck down, and in pain. In the morning, you will learn to effectively liberate some of the major anterior structures of the shoulder girdle (such as the pectoralis minor, subclavius, and subscapularis), and help to give your clients a feeling of ease and freedom in their shoulders that reaches all the way around to their back.

In the afternoon, we will work with the shoulder girdle from the side-lying position. Besides being deeply comforting and relaxing, skilled side-lying work gives you excellent access to the structures of the shoulder. You will learn specific, effective, and potent techniques for releasing the muscles of the shoulder girdle, including the trapezius, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior, levator scapula, subscapularis, infraspinatus, supraspinatus, pectoralis minor, and the surrounding fascia.

You will also learn some focused, muscle-specific work to release bound up erector spinae and transversospinalis muscles. These muscles are often bound up and are a major source of pain and limitation for our clients. The side-lying position gives you excellent access to some of the smaller muscles of the back (and their fascial wrappings)--muscles that are fundamentally important to our posture, movement, and well-being, but that are often completely missed in a standard massage. 

The day will focus on straightforward, muscle-specific techniques that can be immediately applied in practice. Body mechanics will also be a focus of this class, as well as proper use of fingers and elbows to save wear and tear on joints. We sometimes think of side-lying work as primarily for pregnant women, but almost all of your clients can benefit from skilled side-lying work in this area, and it feels wonderful.

If you take both classes offered in Austin, you will know how to identify and treat the most common injuries to the shoulder, and to balance and create a supportive foundation for the shoulder girdle, as well as creating states of deep relaxation for your clients. 

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 8
Date and Time: Sunday, September 24th, 9:30am-6:30pm
Location: Austin, TX

Tuition: $195, or $325 if you register for both this class and Evaluation and Treatment of Shoulder Injuries on Saturday, September 23rd.

Registration: This class is sponsored by the Lauterstein-Conway Massage School. Click here to register.

 

Evaluation and Treatment of Shoulder Injuries

A lot of our clients suffer from chronic rotator cuff injuries that seem to stubbornly persist using conventional massage techniques. Learn precise and specific orthopedic assessments and thumbs-free techniques to identify and successfully treat some of the most common injuries to the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, long head of the biceps and acromioclavicular joint. The class will include a review of rotator cuff anatomy, palpation of the rotator cuff muscles and related structures, and instruction in appropriate treatment massage techniques to treat the soft tissue lesions. You will also receive a detailed 30-page handbook for future reference.

"This shoulder class was the best class and instruction I've ever had." - Deborah Luger

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 8
Date and Time: Sunday, October 1st, 10am-7pm
Location: Seattle (Wallingford area)
Tuition: $160 if registered by September 22nd, $185 thereafter.

Registration: This class is sponsored by the Therapeutic Training Center. Click here to register.

 

Muscle-Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Posterior, Lateral and Anterior Neck (Missoula, MT)

The neck is a strong, vulnerable and complex structure. It is the most movable part of the spine, and yet is strong enough to balance and support the head (10-11 pounds), even with chronically poor posture. Skillful deep tissue work in this area is not about brute force; it's about precision and strategy, informed by knowledge of the anatomical structures. It's rare to find massage therapists who really know how to massage the neck in a precise, specific way–especially around the small muscular attachments to the transverse processes–even though this is often where the muscles are most frayed and/or inflamed.

In the morning you will learn specific techniques for releasing the cervical posterior paraspinal muscles (longissimus, semispinalis capitis, multifidus), suboccipital triangle, levator scapula (especially the cervical attachments), facet joints, splenius capitus and cervicis, posterior, middle, and anterior scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, and masseter. 

In the afternoon we will focus on deep muscle-specific techniques for the anterior neck. Many people learned in massage school to avoid this area, but it responds safely and well to skilled and precise touch. We will focus on the scalene, suprahyoid, infrahyoid, and longus capitus and colli groups. This is really helpful work for clients who have been in car accidents, have emotional issues with their necks or throats, or use their voices professionally (eg, singers). 

These are straightforward, muscle-specific techniques that can be immediately applied in practice. The work is well-suited to either treating cervical injuries or improving your spa massage, and will increase your precision, palpatory sensitivity, and effectiveness. Body mechanics will also be a focus of the class as well as proper use of fingers to save wear and tear on joints. 

"I honestly learned more in your neck class than any other CE I've taken, and I've been at it almost 13 years." -Tracey Brandt 

"This is the best neck class I've ever taken." - Barbara Rue

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE hours: 8
Location: Ruby's Inn and Conference Center, Missoula, MT
Date and Time: Saturday, October 7th, 10am-7pm
Tuition: $160 if registered by September 21st, $180 thereafter.

Registration: A non-refundable $60 deposit is required to save your space. You can mail a deposit check made out to Sarah Roeder, c/o Gaia Massage and Yoga, LLC, 2603 Southhills Drive, Missoula, MT 59803. 

If you prefer, you may also click here to pay the deposit online. The balance is due at class, payable to the instructor, by cash or check only.

Questions: Contact Sarah Roeder at gaialaughs@gmail.com, or at 406-544-0292.

 

Self Care and Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Arms and Hands

Our arms and hands are tough, dextrous, and exquisitely sensitive. As bodyworkers, we often use our hands and thumbs as our primary instruments, and we use them intensively. But we receive little training on how to protect them (particularly the thumbs), setting the stage for pain, injury, and arthritis. In the first portion of the class, Rebecca Norton (OT, LMT, and Certified Hand Therapist) will review hand and thumb anatomy and common mistakes that massage practitioners make. You will then learn how to consciously use your hands and thumbs in a way that protects your joint integrity while increasing the potency and focus of your work. You will also learn exercises, stretches and self-care for the hands and thumbs, as well as treatment strategies for working with clients who have arthritis in their hands and fingers.

In the afternoon, we will focus on muscle-specific Deep Tissue techniques for the arms and hands. As massage therapists, they are perhaps our primary vehicle for sensation and communication, and we use them (and often overuse them) intensively. Our clients' hands and arms often take a beating as well, especially with so much computer use in the workplace and at home. For all the work that they do, our arms and hands seldom get the time or attention that they deserve.

In this class, we will focus on techniques for releasing the muscles and fascia of the hands, thumbs and forearms; increasing mobility in the corresponding joints; and 'deconstructing' forearm muscles that have become glued together. You will learn some simple but effective ways to make your arm massages more specific, potent and satisfying--and receive some good work yourself.

During the exchange portion of the class, Brian will monitor the effectiveness of your Deep Tissue techniques, while Rebecca observes and coaches you on your body mechanics and the correct use of your hands.

"This was such a great combination of information: getting a thorough understanding of hand mechanics, anatomy, and care; and then using this information to learn deep massage techniques for the forearms and hands. I learned valuable self-care techniques that will allow me to work without injury, and also exquisite forearm and hand massage the I can use with my clients." -Andi Pihl

Instructor: Brian Utting and Rebecca Norton
CE Hours: 8
Date and Time: Saturday, October 14th, 10am-7:15pm
Location: Seattle (Wallingford area)
Tuition: $170 if registered by October 6th; $190 thereafter.

Registration: This class is sponsored by the Therapeutic Training Center. Click here to register. 

Muscle-Specific Deep Tissue Techniques for the Iliopsoas, Diaphragm, and QL

These muscular structures support the core--they are integral to maintaining balance, structural alignment, ease of breathing, mobility, and the ability to function without lower back pain. You will learn specific, potent, and effective Deep Tissue techniques to release the iliopsoas, diaphragm, QL, lower multifidus, and the lumbodorsal fascia. These are straightforward, muscle-specific techniques that can be immediately applied in practice, often with profound results. There will be a concise and insightful anatomy review of these structures with an eye toward fascial continuities and the functional relationships between them. We will also focus correct placement and proper use of fingers, knuckles, and elbows for optimal results and to save wear and tear on joints.

"Finally, a class that taught me something I can use!" -Melanie Geiger

Instructor: Brian Utting
CE Hours: 4.5
Date and Time: Wednesday, October 25th, 2:30-7pm
Location: Seattle (Wallingford area)
Tuition: $90 if registered by October 18th; $105 thereafter.

Registration: This class is sponsored by the Therapeutic Training Center. Click here to register.