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Therapeutic Techniques of Deep Tissue Massage: Part I

12 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

Text Materials Shipped and Test Online

Contents: Text shipped to you. online multiple-choice test.


Materials and Test Shipped to You

Contents: Text and multiple-choice test shipped to you.


No Text (I Already Own Text) and Test Online

Contents: online multiple-choice test only.
(I already own "Deep Tissue Massage" text.)


No Text (I Already Own Text) and Test Shipped

Contents: Multiple-choice test shipped only.
(I already own "Deep Tissue Massage" text.)


Do you have the Deep Tissue Massage A Visual Guide to Techniques textbook? See your enrollment options above for "I already own the text".


Based on Art Riggs' outstanding book Deep Tissue Massage, a Visual Guide to Techniques, this course clearly illustrates the core principles necessary to prepare the learner to seek hands-on training in deep tissue massage. It presents the author’s safe, sensitive and efficient approaches to postural analysis, treatment and exercise with numerous photos and illustrations. The textbook is relevant to any type of massage practice in any environment. It provides an excellent quick reference guide after the course is done. This course does not teach hands-on skills. Please seek additional experience, with a mentor, to add hands-on skills.

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Content Outline

What is Deep Tissue Massage and Why Study It? 0.5 hour
Caveats and Areas for Caution 0.5 hour
Principles of Deep Tissue Massage 1 hour
Reading the Body and Refining Your Touch 1 hour
Stroke Direction and Strategy Concepts
1 hour
Correct Use of Your Fingers, Thumbs, Knuckles, Fists, Forearms and Elbows 1 hour
Principles for Placing Muscles in a Stretched Position and Using Side-Lying Positions 1 hour
Specific Stroke Strategy Concepts
1 hour
Looking Out for Your Clients’ Health 1 hour
Therapeutic Strategies for Common Complaints and Injuries 1 hour
Establishing Session Strategies 1 hour
Bodyreading; Active and Passive Movements 0.5 hour
Fulfillment through a Thriving Practice 0.5 hour
Sources for Hands-on Education
Open-book Test and Course Evaluation 1 hour
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A very practical and useful course for therapists who already have some experience.

E. Larin, LMT, NCTMB, San Diego, CA

The text has opened my eyes to many new techniques.

Jennalee Cook, LMT - Belleville, IL

This course was very beneficial to me.


I enjoy doing Deep Tissue work and look forward to putting this course to work. This course has defintely expanded my knowledge of Deep Tissue Massage and I look forward to using this information to help my clients.

Karen J. Strand Raleigh, NC

Great course, excellent subject matter, extremely interesting; you had the best and most convenient, clear online options for massage ceu credits - thank you!

Paula Clark, LMT, South Berwick, ME

Very interesting to read, lots of great techniques for use in study sessions with other massage therapists, and gives great confidence when appling to clients. Solid knowledge for moving ones practive in an expansive manner.

Trisha Smith, LMT, CMT, Bishopville, MD

You CAN teach old dogs new tricks and this course provided a great introduction and demonstration of new (to me) deep tissue techniques.

Valerie S. Cousins, NCTM, NVMT, Las Vegas, NV

I enjoyed this course immensely. Art Riggs has much information to communicate in technique as well as business aspects. The questions were geared to help me extract the information & help me to absorb it.

Vema Coontz, LMT, NCTMB, ABMP, ERMI; business owner

I really enjoyed this course. I'm confident that I will use the content to improve my technique with my clients.

Deana Vanden Hull, LMT, NCTMB, ABMP

Two thumbs up! : )

Erin Beach, LMT, ABMP

I love the online course and the contents of the material.

Janiene Bruce, LMT

Another great experience!

Meredith Neal, LMT, NCTMB

Thank you. I learned a lot of information that will make a big difference.

Donna M. Stuart, LMT

Art Riggs has prepared an invaluable book. Easy to read and understand the book and test. A great collection of knowledge that I'll refer to for many years. It will add a lot of depth to my career. A great resource book that will be easy to call on throughout the day.

Steve Pearson, LMT, NCTMB, ABMP

This is the kind of course that I will go back and re-read the manual many times. So much valuable information that I could not possibly learn it all in one reading. Great new ideas to add to my massage tool box.

Martha Young, LMT, NCTMB, AMTA

This course addresses causes of pain and immobility in every part of the body in a very clear, precise way. Then gives several specific positions and techniques for addressing the underlying causes of the problems. A very useful course for any massage therapist wanting to better address the numerous and common aliments presented to them.

Stephanie N. DeRossett Cherry, LMT

Informative. Easy to comprehend and apply course material

Jorge Pelon, CMT

Great course.Lots of information that I can use for treating future clients! Thank you for making this so easy! I plan on reading it again!

Jeremy Weber, NCTMB

I enjoyed the way this was structured.

Laura Elmore, LMT, NCTMB, ABMP

Just when I think I have invented some amazing new technique, I find everything I have ever thought up has already been thought up by Mr. Riggs...Genius!

Nathan Henderson, LMT

Great book, very helpful. The text and photos helped me gain insight and understanding of the subject.

Amber Noullet, LMT, ABMP

I have already started implementing the different techniques taught in the course to my client's great approval. The feedback I've been getting from my clients has been nothing but positive and I even had one client I see weekly say that it felt as though I had gotten through 6 months of tightness in one session that I had previously been unable to release! I couldn't be happier with the course and the book will be an invaluable piece of reference material for my business in the future. I can't wait to jump into more of the courses offered!

Breean Reyes, LMT

Good course.

Maggie Blair, CMT

I will continue to advance in my approach to deep tissue. The tools in this course have not only provided the anatomy and technique required for best results in deep tissue but also included the importance of intention and confidence, that can be gained combining the two. I plan to take the challenge practicing what I have learned.

Beverly Michele Morretz, LMT, NCTMB

it is very helpful and precise.

Nancy Cromer, LMT

The book is a keeper. Excellent visuals!

Karen Maiorano, LMT, NCTMB

I really enjoyed this material. It was easy to understand with very important information. EXCELENT job. Thank you.

Theresa Girouard, LMT, NCTMB, ABMP

The combined review of anatomy with theory and practice of massage with photos to demonstrate proper body mechanics is worth its weight in gold. Great review for someone like myself who has been practicing massage therapy for 20+ years. Enjoy the home study as can be done at your own pace and you have the book as a reference.

Peggy Anne Cambus Toulatos, LMT, NCTMB

This course was interesting and very helpful. Offers techniques for many of the common issues we come across in our practices. Gives wonderful information on planning the session and body reading as well.

Sherry L. Robinson, LMT

The class was easy to sign up for and when talking to staff I felt supported. Yes, I’d take another class, in fact I’ll be signing up for a new one in the next couple of days. I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot. Normally, I’m old school and like/need the classroom to learn, but the text was awesome.

Kimberly Swenson, LMT, NCTMB

Awesome class. Very clear and concise, with so much helpful information. My copy of the book has been highlighted and tagged more than any other course I've taken. I would absolutely take another class by Art Riggs.

Courtney Kier, CMT

I really enjoyed the experience. Easy to follow and to the point.

Vicki Dove, LMT

I loved this course! It was practical and so informative! I felt like it was a positive and encouraging course.

Andrea Karnatz, LMT

This course was very helpful in my practice and answered a lot of questions for me. I was also able to learn new techniques that will enhance treatment of my clients.

Mary DeJacomo, LMT

I enjoyed this course. I look forward to start working on part II. I gained inspiration and new ideas and new techniques. I look forward to applying this in my practice.

Katie Sar, CMT

This was by far the Best course I have taken from this website so far, and I have taken several. I would highly recommend this course. I've seen many therapist's who call themselves "Deep Tissue" therapists simply because they feel they put a lot of pressure, and I've heard many state "no pain, no gain" in regards to their approach. I've also seen many injuries result from those approaches. This course teaches the proper techniques, how to access the deeper tissue without damaging the tissues.

Josanne Landry

happy to find this book. well written with great pictures. will definitely help my massage skills and confidence.

deborah cox

Excellent course.

Angelita King, LMT

This course was awesome! Definitely the best online CEU I have taken in 24 years of licensure.

Joanne Lawrence, LMT

Loved this course! Definitely applying it in my practice. Thank you!

Aubrey Rose Rockefeller, LMT

I found this course interesting and will be incorporating these techniques in to my practice. A lot of very helpful stretching techniques and proper body mechanics shown. I'm excited to share my new knowledge with my clients!

Theresa Johnson, LMT

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Learning Objectives

  1. Define Deep Tissue Massage, identify its main principles and benefits, and recognize at least 5 areas of caution
  2. Differentiate between compressing tissue and stretching it; identify principles of correct biomechanics, and recognize the key element of “melting” muscle tissue
  3. Identify each of these stroke strategies, with examples of when their use is appropriate: lengthening, anchor and stretch, cross-fiber, separating muscle compartments, freeing entrapments and allowing muscles to shorten
  4. Identify why it’s important to place muscles in a stretched position and how to use side-lying positions
  5. Identify at least 3 specific therapeutic strategies for each of these areas: foot & lower leg, upper leg, pelvis, pelvis & low back, abdomen
  6. Identify at least 3 specific therapeutic strategies for each of these areas: breath, upper & mid-back, shoulder girdle & chest, arms, hands & neck, skull & jaw
  7. Identify at least 3 ways to instruct your clients about how to prevent back pain, neck pain and headaches, and at least 1 way to recognize malignant melanoma
  8. Identify at least 1 therapeutic strategy for common complaints in each of the following body parts, and how to correctly apply it to practice situations: the ankle, plantar fasciaitis, the knee, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow
  9. Identify at least 1 therapeutic strategy for common complaints in each of the following body parts, and how to correctly apply it to practice situations: carpal tunnel syndrome, the low back, sciatica and the shoulder
  10. Identify the key elements in assessing clients and choosing appropriate deep tissue approaches for them
  11. Identify how to establish and maintain a thriving practice that includes Deep Tissue Massage and expresses who you are
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Sample Text

"Strengthening Strategies

Pain in a joint will usually have the effect of sending inhibitory nerve responses to the muscles, which results in atrophy and weakness.  This weakness is one reason why a minor acute injury will sometimes turn into a chronic inflammation.  Simple exercises that take only five or ten minutes a day can have profound effects on alleviating knee pain.

Pain in the knee may come from lack of stability and imbalances in strength between different muscles associated with stabilizing the knee joint and patella.  Ninety percent of the clients I see for knee pain have had dramatic improvement doing strengthening and flexibility exercises, while soft tissue work by itself, although very helpful, has not been as effective.

In the early stages of strengthening, an inflamed joint may not tolerate movement until the inflammation has decreased.  The safest strategy is to progress from isometric strengthening exercises that keep the knee joint immobile, to more complex exercises involving flexion and extension of the joint."  (Deep Tissue Massage:  A Visual Guide to Techniquesrevised ed. by Art Riggs, 2007, p. 186)

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Sample Test Question

Ninety percent of the author’s clients who have knee pain get dramatic improvement from

  1. stretching exercises
  2. strengthening and flexibility exercises
  3. deep tissue massage
  4. effleurage and ice
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