“It keeps the bodywork alive, not stagnant. It allows a practitioner to respond to a client’s needs, making each treatment individual, creative and customized,” Marie said.
This is one of the key differences between VSOHA’s Spa Therapy Program and an RMT course; students learn a variety of eastern and western bodywork modalities, including Shiatsu, Deep Tissue and Joint Release.
Due to the complex nature of each modality, it’s not expected that students will master all of them within the 18-week full-time program (or 9 months part-time). Rather, Marie said “Each modality is a taster. We’re inviting you to experience it in case you would like to delve further into that style of bodywork.”
In order to bring it all together, Spa Therapy students participate in Integrative Bodywork, a core module which focuses on infusing all the tools from different modalities and ways to incorporate them in a session.
“For example, if I have the idea that a particular Deep Tissue stoke I’ve learned might be effective in the shoulder but the tissue isn’t quite ready for the depth, I have some options. I might use Swedish techniques to soften the tissue, Joint Release to introduce movement, Shiatsu to determine where the tissue is most adhered and Sports Massage to introduce range of motion. After this preparatory work, the client’s shoulder may be ready to accept the Deep Tissue work I’d intended,” Marie said.
Along with Integrative Bodywork, Body-Mind Integration is another completely unique, core modality at VSOHA. “Body-Mind Integration is all the aspects of massage I never knew were a part of massage before coming here,” Marie explained.
The Integrative Bodywork and Body-Mind Integration components are sprinkled throughout the program.
“Upon program completion, our aim is for students to offer bodywork that is inspiring and reflective of their individual style,” Marie said. “In order to retain a fresh, dynamic, bodywork practice, VSOHA encourages grads to return to study an array of post-graduate workshops on offer. This fall, watch out for our Graduate Massage Evenings where you can drop in, meet a fellow grads, and give & receive a massage from a like-minded practitioner. Yet another way to keep your bodywork practice alive!”