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Essential Skills

Students must possess the following abilities or be able to perform those using compensatory techniques and/or adaptive devices. These essentials are:


  • The ability to safely bend, twist, and lift to assist a client moving from one surface to another.
  • The ability to apply manual resistance to a client’s arm, leg or trunk during massage.
  • The coordination, balance, and strength to safely guard and protect a patient negotiating walking with an assistive device and moving from a massage table to a chair.
  • The ability to perform chest compressions necessary for CPR.
  • The ability to crouch, kneel, reach, and push/pull, to perform massage with clients.
  • The agility to move quickly to ensure client safety.
  • The physical capacity to work 8-10 hours during on- site student clinic and clinical affiliations.
  • Sufficient manual dexterity to safely grasp and manipulate small objects and muscle tissue.
  • The ability to identify color changes on the skin.
  • The ability to detect odors such as equipment burning, smoke, spill, environmental hazards, and pathophysiological conditions.
  • The ability to feel pulse, muscle tone, and bony landmarks.
  • The ability to hold and use a writing instrument for documentation.


  • The ability to collect and integrate data about client to problem solve safely and effectively as a massage therapy student.
  • The ability to handle the emotional stress of working with clients in need of compassionate health care.
  • The ability to read and comprehend client information.
  • The ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • The ability to interact effectively with clients, families, supervisors, and co-workers regardless of their race, sex, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, or disability.
  • The ability to maintain personal hygiene consistent with the close personal contact associated with client care.
  • The ability to give and receive a full body massage by a professional massage therapist or student in training; regardless of their gender, age, race, or disability.
  • The ability to understand the psycho-emotional effect of massage and changes one may encounter during their training.
  • The ability to manage ones own emotional distress and seek appropriate support.
  • The ability to identify and understand the Fundamentals of Ethics for Body workers (i.e. confidentiality, boundaries, dual relationships, power imbalance, dating, supervision, transference, counter-transference, moral and ethics)
  • To abide by the policies and procedures of CCRI, as detailed in the CCRI Student Handbook, and policies of the Rehabilitative Health Department and Therapeutic Massage Program.
  • To render assistance to individuals of all cultures from across the lifespan without prejudice.
  • To comprehend and effectively communicate in the English language (orally and in writing), using appropriate grammar and vocabulary.