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Signature Swedish Massage Style to be Taught at VSOHA

The September 2017 intake of the Spa Therapy Program at the Vancouver School of Bodywork and Massage will see the introduction of some exciting developments in the way Swedish massage is taught at the school.

Swedish massage techniques form the basis of the contemporary Western approach to massage. This 62 hour foundational course is the first of the manual skills taught in the 700 hr Spa Therapy Program.

This year bodyworker and wellness coach Eva Mateus will teach the Swedish classes and supervise the student clinic. In conjunction with Program Director, Marie Salton, she will be introducing some elements to the program to help ensure students are completely ‘clinic-ready’ prior to the first student clinic, which begins September 28, 2017.

Eva graduated from the Spa Therapy Program in 2009 and spent four years working in a deep tissue clinic in Terrace, BC before returning to Vancouver.

“It was such a cool experience working there. I really got to connect with my clients and bring a lot of care in. I’m not an RMT but over time doctors and chiropractors started referring their clients to me, which was really special.”

From her work at the clinic, Eva realised that it was the small details that clients really appreciated during a treatment.

“The treatment doesn’t begin when a client is on the massage table. It begins on the first interaction when you make eye-contact and shake their hand,” Eva said.

Mindfulness and communication before, during and after a session is key to offering a high level of client care. In the September intake, students will receive expanded instruction in this area by working extensively with intake forms and learning to ask more detailed and specific questions in order to make each session unique and personalised to a client’s needs.

“Clients want to feel like they are being taken care of. It takes a huge amount of care and presence,” Eva said.

As well as learning the manual Swedish techniques, Eva will teach students to tune in to their intuition in order to develop their own unique style of Swedish massage


Unique to VSOHA is the body mind course taught by Kirsten Johansson, which occurs alongside the manual skills courses. Instructors encourage students to incorporate what they’ve learned from all their classes into classroom and clinic exchanges.


“I’m really excited to bring in the body-mind connection component. I want students to be able to tune into their bodies in order to be fully there for their clients,” Eva said.

VSOHA Bodywork and Massage Swedish

Eva will also be working to shine a light on details such as incorporating pauses, coaching breath, knowing how best to adjust the table and headrest, appropriate draping, grounding and increased connection with clients.

“All those added details make a session go from good to amazing!” she said.


Eva aims for every client at the VSOHA student clinic to feel really understood; that the student can hear what the client needs and deliver a session in a way that is unique to each person. Although students won’t know all the techniques taught in the VSOHA Spa Therapy Program until they graduate, they can personalize a treatment with the techniques currently in their quiver to best address the client’s needs during the session.


“Students will all have the same bag of tools, but the sessions will be inspired by their own unique creativity,” Eva said.

The Full-Time Spa Therapy Program begins on September 5, 2017 and the Part-Time begins on September 9.

Student clinic runs late September through early June from 1pm to 7pm on most Thursday evenings and every other Saturday. Treatments are open to the public and cost $30 for a 60-minute session, $40 for a 90-minute session.