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Stress Reduction Through Bodywork

4 Hour CE Course

Average rating based on the following evaluation questions:

  1. The presentation of the subject was clear and to the point.
  2. Content was interesting to me.
  3. I gained new knowledge.
  4. The materials held my attention.
  5. I can use this information in my practice.
  6. This program met my personal expectations.
  7. Overall quality of course content and materials were excellent.

Enrollment Options

Fully Online Materials and Test

Contents: online manual; plus online multiple-choice test


Materials and Test Shipped to You

Contents: Manual and workbook with multiple-choice test shipped to you.



Deepen your understanding of how to reduce chronic stress including how to manage your own stress and how to communicate the ways your services help your clients experience stress relief.

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Content Outline

Healthy Anatomy and Physiology Review

  • Body/mind responses to stress
  • Mental and emotional health
 1 Hour

Mental and Emotional Illness

  • Signs and symptoms for referral
  • Specific mental/emotional disorders
  • Alcohol and drug intoxication
  • Mental/emotional/physical/spiritual abuse
  • Medications related to mental illness
 1 Hour


Therapeutic Actions

Outcome Evaluation

 1 Hour

Research Findings

Case Presentations

Recommended Resources

 0.5 Hour
Open-Book Test and Course Evaluation  0.5 Hour
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This course was very informative, as it gave definitions fro various mental health concerns in easily understandable terms. It also gave the appropriate techniques to use or not to use for each situation. These are helpful guidelines.

Atricia McCary, Therapeutic Massage, Lincoln, VT

A good course to give a more in-depth look about stress and mental/emotional illnesses.

Ayesha Maginley, LMT, Sandy Springs, GA

Great information, especially the information on therapeutic actions.

Carol Skolnik, CMT; BodyWise; Silver Spring, MD

Good review of issues that may affect a bodyworker and client.

Chet Crowley, NCTMB, LMT

I enjoyed this course and it is applicable to the general public.

Christina Ward

I appreciated this course and learned a lot of things I can implement in my personal life as well as in my work with clients. I was intrigued by the research noted in regards to massage's effect on stress levels.

Crystal C. Guengerich, RN, CMT, Baltimore, MD

This was an excellent course on dealing with my clients emotional needs.

Debbie Kuhn, CMT Thurmont, Maryland

I found the therapeutic actions really helpful.

Deborah Nugnes NCTMB

Keen observation and excellent body/mind assessment is the therapists biggest challenge for the therapists who need to develop in this area, this course will aid in building people skill and confidence.

Dorris Williams

Very good review of how people deal with stress (appropriate & inappropriate) personally thought provoking.

Elsie Lintz, CMT

This course delves deep, creating an awareness that is generally overlooked or ignored

Helen Willis-Waltrup, Manchester NH

This is an awesome course and easy to understand, thank you!

Jennifer Magnusson - LMT, Waddell, AZ

It was easy to read and very interesting. It will be a good addition to my practice to know more about how to handle clients with disorders.

Jennifer Peterson, HHP, San Diego, CA

This course is a well researched summation of stress and the effects of stress that one might meet with in a bodywork practice. Raises awareness and therefore helps to build confidence and professionalism.

Kathleen Bowman

Very informative; info I can actually use in practice.

Kelly Morgan,LMT Myrtle Beach,SC

Very good course, well organized, and very useful information.

Linda Wozniak Vital Signs Massage & Bodywork

Interesting course, very worthwhile.

Margo McIntyre Boylan - Louisville, KY

Very informative information I can use in my practice. I enjoyed taking this course so much that a I use the pamphlet regularly to brush up on different topics. I was so pleased with what I learned that I have referred other therapist to take the course.

Marjorie Johnson

This course was well written and appropriately detailed. It was very useful and enjoyable.

Megan Riggleman, CMT, Massage Envy, Springfield, Va

Great review for everyone!

Michael Wilson, CMT

Excellent review!

Miriam Tucker

Lots of information in an easy to follow format.

Nona Fries, NCTMB, Angels Camp,CA

Great information to know in working with different people everyday.

Racyne Simpson, LMT Bullhead City, AZ

I found the section on Clients with Mental Illness very interesting. It gave me a new insight, because I primarily deal with physical problems in the medical office I work in.

Rosemary Heermance, NCTMB, Pacific Oasis Medi-Spa, Lancaster, CA

This course really explained how to deal with mental/emotional illness when it comes to massage. I really enjoyed the course, gave great information.

Sharon Smith, LMT (Hands on Health)

Every therapist will encounter one or more of these type disorders during his/her practice.

Sheila Cecil, LMT Burlington, KY

I've enjoyed this course and I learned a lot!

Tabitha Patterson, Massage Therapist, Murrells Inlet, SC

The material was very well written.

Tammy Goodroe, Massage Therapist, Virgina Beqach, VA

The course is very easy to understand and it helps put you in a possible situation to prepare you.

Tracie Sanders RMP

I loved this course!!!! it really was very interesting, positive and helpful in many ways!

Traci M.Jennings Massage Las Vegas, Nevada

I found this course to be extremely helpful in dealing not only with clients but with family. Thank You! I now feel much more equipped to relate to what others are going through.

Vickie Byers, NCTMB

The course was very enlightening and was well worth the price.

Victoria J. Pendley, LMT, NMT Fayette, AL

This course provided vital information on mental and emotional illnesses as well as the effect of stress on the body/mind.

W. Scott Pollard, LMT Rockville, MD

Very informative in a concise easily understandable text.

Yvonne I. Messemer LMT, NCTMB

The information was interesting and applied directly to my massage bodywork.

J. Distrola, LMT

This was a very informative and interesting course!

Lisa Buck, LMT, NCTMB

I liked the examples and diagram included. They really helped to clarify and understand the materail. The studies at the end were interesting.

Ieshya Anderson, LMT

This was a good course. I will for surely keep this information handy when working with these types of clients.

Jamie Duvnjak, NCTMB

Much needed especially in the world in which we live today! Thanks

Heather Kirchkesner, LMT

This was the best online course I have taken. It was straight to the point and very beneficial. It exceeded my expectations!

Quneeta Gause, LMT

Love it. It has answered some questions that were relevant to clients and to friends. Thank you

Debra Overberg, LMT, NCTMB

Well presented material for a difficult topic

Ginger Grissom Stevens, LMT

I enjoyed this course it will be very helpful in my practice. Thanks!

Randi Levin Marier, LMT, NCTMB

Very interesting good information.

Dianne Cagliuso, LMT

This course was a valuable educational tool and information to learn and use with clients.


Loved this course!!!

Laurie Coleman, LMP

It was great and I have new insight on the condition this course gave me. Thanks!

David Finley, NCTMB

Enjoyed the information. Very useful.

Karen Roth, LMT, NCTMB

This course was a happy surprise! It was insigtful and very helpful concerning the focus of the particular subject. I really enjoyed this course.

Kathryn Bruno, LMT, NCTMB

Very insightful & instructional!! Every Bodyworker should take this course!!

Robin Waren, LMBT

Because I am interested in this information, it enlightened me and also confirmed what I had already learned - it was good to know I am on the right track with my clients.

Susan Kralj, LMT

Thanks this helped both me and my professional practice.I enjoyed this course very much.

Francis Brown, LMP, LMT, NCTMB

Very well put together and easily understood.

Dagmar Lemich, LMT, NCTMB

This was my first online CEU, and I was very pleased. The information is something that I will use in my everyday life.

Alenna Hinton, LMT, NCTMB

I found the course to be interesting and practical.

Rolland Leach, LMBT

This course is great and help me a lot understand clients body and becomes better knowledged therapist

Marisol Reyes, LMT

I learned a few things that will help me in my practice. This is my first time doing a home study CEU and found it interesting. I am a person who learns hands on better than reading but found this very educational and easy to understand. It kept my attention which can be difficult for me in a book learning environment. Thank-you very much and I will use this course program again

Dema McKeen, LMP

This course was awesome!! Great insight!!!!

Roxann Bolton, LMT

Glad I took it. Learned a lot!!

Janice Thompson, LMT

Excellent presentation of the material. It was clear and concise, easy to follow and provided lots of practical information regarding the practitioner's role in dealing with people of emotional and mental states as well as illness.

Kerstin Usher, LMT

Great information you can incorporate into your practice.

Lori Uretsky

It seems more clients are experiencing depression these days. This course will certainly help if and when you are faced with this challenge.

Robert Foster, LMT

Loved this course and format, enables me to work CEU's with a very busy schedule

Larry Burke, LMT

This course offered insights into my clients possible behaviors and indicators as well as reminders to myself to make sure I am taking care of myself and my stress levels.

Meghan Green, LMT

Thank you, the content of this course was very interesting to me. I feel more prepared to handle situations of high stress in my clients and to better understand how stressors play out in our body/mind.

Alissa Priestley, LMT

This course was helpful because of the high stress level of most clients. Thank you.

Judith Sparrow, LMT

Your support staff was very helpful in answering all my questions. The course was well presented and very informative. Would recomend to others.

Jose Echaniz, LMT, NCTMB

This course covers important situations that can present themselves in the massage session. I appreciate focusing on these ideas at length and supporting the therapist's role.

Kathy Duprey, LMP

The information from the material will be beneficial for my clients as well as for myself

Amanda Downour, LMT

Made me think about the different situation that might occur.

Jemima Crossfield, LMT

I enjoyed learning the actual hands on techniques for cleints with mental/emotional disorders. I feel more prepared for these situations in the future.

Ann Mora Ramos, RMT, LMT, NCTMB

Really liked the program and working with the institute was easy and friendly. I loved all the references at the end. I knew by all the references the program was not only professional in nature but truly researched by highly trained professionals.

Catherine Friend, LMT

This course was helpful and informative for me as a practitioner. I learned ways to both apply this knowledge to my personal life and my practice. Thanks!

Nicole Jones, LMT, NCTMB

I enjoyed the course. Very helpful.

Mary Eure, LMT

I learned some very valuable information from this course. I would highly recommend it for all body workers!!

Lauren Nogrady, LMT, NCTMB

This course was GREAT!!! I learned so much about recognizing mental/emotional deviations and how to support and refer the clients. In addition, I feel that this course improved and increased my knowledge as a therapist.

Nora Sasson, LMT

Very informative. Because of this course I'm considering this area of expertise. Thank you for providing this valuable information.

Monique Gray, LMT, NCTMB

What a great value to obtain knowledge on the usage of a system of assessment in therapeutic action and then re-assessment of each & every client! Thank you very much for sharing!!!

Lanita Jackson, LMT, NCTMB

I thought the course was well thought out and presented in a manner that made it easy to understand and complete.

Carolyn A. Causey, LMT, NCTMB

Thank you. I will retain this information easily and apply it in my practice!

Sabrina Rajkumar, LMT

This was an amazing course. I took a long time reading it because I had to look up a lot of terms and techniques that I was unfamiliar with. I realize that I have a lot more to learn even after 15 years of working as a professional MT. Thank you for this class as continuing education.

Barbara L. Downing, LMT

Fun an informative. Good format! Thank you!

Karen R. LaLonde, LMT

It was extremely informative. I learned a lot.

Jason Knapp, LMT

I found this course to be very interesting and informative. The course material was very easy to understand.

Tracey Baucom McInnis, LMT

I can surely use this with my practice. I have friends who have migraines and Epilepsy. This will be a great tool and source of knowledge for me.

Larry Box Jr., LMT

Great and loved the ease of the process! Thank you!

Lisa Todd, LMT

This course was very informative and helped realizing how or actions as therapists can really affect someone's mental state. I felt this class explained situations more clearly then I have heard before. I've been in practice for over 20 yrs and some of these cases were not touched on this thoroughly. Thank you for the new insight I have.

Roxanne Grondin

Not only did this course give excellent information, for me it emphasized the importance of knowing how to recognize stress-related behaviors and serve my clients correctly.

Lucy Corey, LMT, NCTMB

Very helpful that specific procedures were given for the therapist to do under certain circumstances and reactions of clients.

Geraldine Hall, LMT

I appreciated and noted Sharon Burch's expertise in her three fields as nurse practitioner, massage therapist and educator. As a professional and knowing facts, she dovetails experience and practice with today's harries, stress-filled lives. The reflective exercise, situation to avoid and case presentations were most helpful in again bringing the printed words alive and into the concrete interactions with persons coming to us for understanding and care.

Betty Jean Haverback

The materials and test were easily readable and it didn't take much time to complete the test and the evaluation.

Brenda Boone

This course was very knowledgeable and I definitely will be able to use it! Very informative and everyone deals with stress in their life, including me!

Barbara Young, LMT

The materials were well written and opened up some perspectives I hadn't explored before.

Mimosa Gordon, LMT

This was an awesome course

Irene Brooks, LMBP

I found this course to be truly clarifying and easy to understand. The information contained here will be a nice resource to use in my massage and Reiki practice. Thank you for the great courses you continue to offer.

Margaret Leighton, LMT

I enjoyed this class and website. I will be taking all of my online classes here

Nick Busin, LMT

Thank you for the Stress Reduction material. I learned more than I thought I would.

Christal Smith, LMT

Fantastic course.

Rachel Smith, LMT

I found this course interesting and helpful as well as meeting my CEU needs.

Monika Messer, LMP

This was a fabulous class!!! I learned so much more on Stress and what to look for and how to help in different areas. I recommend this to EVERYONE. We all have stress and it was a great reminder to take care of self as much as we do others.

Tara Ryan-Safran, LMT, BCTMB

My father had dementia and I gained new knowledge personally. I feel the material could even delve deeper. It's a very interesting topic I had no idea that "Stress Reduction" was going to be involving all of this, but I thoroughly enjoyed it all and the review from my Blue Cliff College days.

Mariana Pundsack, LMT

it was very good and informative and fairly easy to learn. I am very satisfied and will continue to take more courses in the very near future. Thanks!

Donna McGregor, LMT

This course is a great refresher for me. It was explained very well and provided great examples which helped me understand it better. I look forward to taking another class! Thank you!

Shekina Magbulos, LMT

Concise and to the point. Useful for most people. I spent 15 years as a mental health clinician.

Richard Scott Wortman, LMT

Surely one of your best home study courses. A genuine pleasure to read. Clear, useful and informative.

William J. Hout, LMT

This course was of particular interest to me because a family member struggles with mental illness. I occasionally perform massage on her. This course better equips me to give her my very best and be well prepared should a situation arise.

Belinda Hart, LMT

Love this one. Thank you!

Christine Roach, LMT

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Learning Objectives

  1. Define the following vocabulary words: abuse, coping, defense mechanism, mental/emotional illness, stress and stressor.
  2. Compare and contrast what happens in the body/mind during sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activation.
  3. Identify therapeutic actions likely to activate the sympathetic nervous system and actions likely to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.
  4. List and describe five common defense mechanisms.
  5. Identify the appropriate therapeutic actions in relation to probable indications and contraindications for at least five of the common mental/emotional illnesses.
  6. Discuss reasons why body-centered therapies are contraindicated for people who are intoxicated.
  7. Identify appropriate ways to respond to clients who dissociate and clients who become emotionally upset.
  8. Identify the prevalence of sexual abuse in the U.S. and list three possible stages in the recovery process.
  9. Identify at least three therapeutic actions that massage therapists and bodyworkers can provide to help their clients’ stress levels.
  10. Identify at least three ways to evaluate the therapeutic outcomes of massage and bodywork.
  11. Recognize recent research findings that support the benefits of massage and bodywork for stress relief.
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Sample Text

"The Stress-response process requires many feedback loops and results in changes throughout all systems of the body/mind. These changes are integrated through the hypothalamus and cascade through the autonomic nervous system, which consists of two distinct subsystems: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. Sympathetic nervous system activation provides bursts of energy in response to stress. We often call it the 'fight or flight' response. During sympathetic activation, heart rate and blood pressure increase, blood is directed to the heart, brain and skeletal muscles and away from digestive, urinary and other areas that are not immediately involved in fight or flight. Parasympathetic nervous system activation provides energy conservation, tissue regeneration and repair in response to safely, rest and nurturance. It is equally important to sympathetic activation. Commonly called the 'relaxation response,' parasympathetic activation slows the heartbeat, increases the secretion of most of the glands and increases digestion and elimination (see Illustration 1). Here are the high points of the chemical and mechanical responses to stress. It starts with sensory stimuli, such as touch, movement, temperature, texture, sound, taste, smell, sight, etc., that triggers nerve receptors and causes a message to travel to the spinal cord. From the spinal cord, the message travels into the part of the brain (the hypothalamus) that coordinates the body/mind's adaptation responses. The hypothalamus coordinates three major responses:

  • the sympathetic nervous system
  • the release of certain hormones from the anterior pituitary gland
  • the release of certain hormones from the posterior pituitary gland

The sympathetic nervous system transmits the message to the sweat (exocrine) glands, the peripheral nerve endings and the adrenal medulla. Next, the peripheral nerve endings release norepinephrine and the adrenal medulla releases epinephrine (also called adrenaline). These hormones directly or indirectly influence all of the major organs and blood vessels. (See the sympathetic side of Illustration 1.)" (Stress and the Body/Mind by Sharon Burch, 2006, p. 9-10)

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Sample Test Question

The _______________ is activated during stressful events and provides a burst of energy. It is often called the _______________.

  1. sympathetic nervous system; relaxation response
  2. sympathetic nervous system; fight or flight response
  3. parasympathetic nervous system; relaxation response
  4. parasympathetic nervous system; fight or flight response
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