Online Continuing Education Advantages - by admin@mcb on July 24 2018

Online Continuing Education Advantages

If you’re new to the idea of taking online continuing education for massage, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages with all of your options.

Live Continuing Education – Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of live seminars are supervision and instant feedback, although class size will affect how much instructor attention you will receive.

The disadvantages with live seminars are that tuition is significantly higher. On top of this, you need to place a monetary value on the time you miss work, and calculate your travel expenses, meals and potentially lodging away from home. You might also encounter house-sitting, childcare, or other added expenses. Another disadvantage with live seminars are that you run the risk of having classes cancelled at the last minute, and limited courses available in the time frame you need.

Online Continuing Education – Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages with online courses are many. You have the ability to enroll today, and (depending on the course length) have your certificate in your hand today, with no delays. You have nearly unlimited options of course topics available. It is easy to make online courses fit your routine, your deadlines, and your preferences, with the convenience of 24/7 availability. You won’t have to block class times off of your appointment book, or leave home. Since home study courses are often much less expensive than live seminars, not only do you save time and trouble, but you also save hard-earned money.

Of course, with online study you will need to rely on email and phone calls to interact with your instructor. When you take a course through Institute of Somatic Therapy, we are available by phone or email to answer any questions that you have, but we acknowledge that there may be times when it is just not the same has having someone right there.

Retention of Course Material – Higher with Online

An often forgotten advantage of online courses is retention of the material. Studies indicate that the retention rate can be as low as 50% in a classroom situation, so when you leave, you may only retain half of what you learned. One month later, it might even be less than that. With home study, you have the ability to study when you are ready to focus and are free of distractions. You can also hit rewind to view the videos and re-read the course material as many times as you wish, even after you completed the course. Since you can review over and over again, with enough repetition, you can conceivably increase your retention rate as high as 100%.

Enroll With Confidence

If you like the idea of online courses, but are worried about how it will work for you, we invite you to try our free sample course. You may well discover that the savings and convenience of online continuing education courses suit you just fine. To see all of our online continuing education courses, click here.

Photo “Computer Generation” courtesy of “marin” at

Doula Liability Insurance - by admin@mcb on June 20 2018

Doula Liability Insurance

Doula liability insurance (malpractice insurance) is not currently mandated by any state or national laws. But does that mean you should not have it?

Statistics for doulas being sued are not available through online searches, most likely because the instance is extremely rare. Although rare, the fact is that doulas can be, and have been, sued. If something goes wrong in labor, malpractice lawyers typically name everyone who was present in the labor room in the lawsuit. Even if the doula did nothing wrong, doula liability insurance could cover lawyer fees. Simply because obstetrics is one of the highest litigated areas of medical malpractice, having liability/malpractice insurance may make sense.

Ways to Limit Your Need for Doula Liability Insurance

The Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators (ALACE) recommends several simple steps doulas can take before and after a birth to help limit the chance of being sued in their role as a doula. These include:

• Communication: Before the birth, spend time with your doula clients so you know what they want from you, and they know what you can and cannot do for them. After the birth, communication may be even more important, especially if the labor and delivery did not go as well as the client had planned and hoped. One or two postpartum visits to discuss the birth experience gives your client an opportunity to ask questions and process the momentous experience you shared.

• Liability Release Agreement: While a release of liability form does not protect you if you are negligent, by having your client sign a liability release form, particularly one that covers various potential complications, it shows informed consent to the comfort measures you will provide. The Institute of Somatic Therapy provides a sample template for a doula contract and release as part of the Massage Doula Support training program. You might also consider adding a mediation clause to avoid being named in a lawsuit.

• Operate only within your scope of training: By becoming certified, you have demonstrable proof of knowing the standards in the doula profession. Doulas are not medical providers, and should not be performing any clinical tasks, such as dilation or heart rate monitoring, etc. You should also not give medical advice, especially anything that contradicts what the doctor or midwife gives. Your role is secondary to the primary care provider, and your client should know that by your words and actions. Provided that you only operate within established standards, you are less likely to be found responsible for adverse circumstances that arose during the labor.

• Don’t take risks: Massage doulas are discouraged from going to their clients’ home prior to hospitalization so as to not get in a situation where labor progressed faster than anticipated and getting to the hospital in time is not possible. Driving your client to the hospital exposes you to additional risks. You also have to use precautions based on intervention the client might receive. For example, if she is confined to the hospital bed, don’t take risks by trying unusual positions, or if she has an epidural, don’t use heat or ice to areas where she has no feeling.

Sources for Doula Liability Insurance

Massage doulas, as long as they are working within the legal scope of massage therapy, should be covered under their massage malpractice policy. Such policies are offered by a variety of professional massage therapy associations, such as ABMP and AMTA, as well as through private insurers. For doulas who are not massage therapists, or massage doulas who specifically want doula liability insurance, one insurance group popular among birth doulas is Cotterell, Mitchell & Fifer. Other sources can also be found through any internet search engine.

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Institute of Somatic Therapy offers online continuing education for massage therapists. Our courses include prenatal massage and massage doula support.

For Fourth of July, Offer Discounts for Veterans - by admin@mcb on June 11 2018

For Fourth of July, Offer Discounts for Veterans

This Fourth of July, offer special deals for those who have sacrificed to keep us safe. ©
This Fourth of July, offer special deals for those who have sacrificed to keep us safe. ©

Consider a Fourth of July Promotion

The Fourth of July is a celebration of everything that makes America great. From coast to coast we celebrate with parades, fireworks, cookouts, family, and friends. It is also the perfect time to remember and celebrate the veterans that have fought to keep our country free.

Offering a Fourth of July massage therapy promotion is an excellent way to honor veterans and active duty military personal and promote your massage therapy business at the same time.

Advertise Your Promotion Through a Press Release

Consider writing a press release to advertise your promotion. If you have never written a press release, here are some ideas:

  • Look professional. Do an online search to find the proper format for a press release.
  • Word it to be of interest to the readers, not to look like you are simply advertising yourself.
  • You can quote yourself as though it was written by a reporter.
  • Try to keep it to a single page. The real purpose is for the media to want to interview you for a full story.

Send your press release to local newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, and any other local media outlets.

If you are interested in more ways to improve your massage therapy business visit us online at the Institute of Somatic Therapy. We can help you discover innovative courses that are perfect for growing your massage therapy business and better meeting the diverse needs of your clients.

If you haven’t already, we urge you to take our free sample course. Click here:  Seven Mistakes Massage Therapists Make, and How to Avoid Them. This course will help you analyze your massage practice to find potential areas of improvement.

Institute of Somatic Therapy  is approved by the NCBTMB (Provider #280672-00) as a continuing education Approved Provider. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by Florida (#MCE-326), and New York (#0019). Our courses are also valid for AMTA, ABMP, and most individual states.

Announcing New NCBTMB Board Certified Renewal Package - by admin@mcb on December 12 2017

Announcing New NCBTMB Board Certified Renewal Package

Are you an NCBTMB Board Certified Massage Therapist (NBCMT)? If so, you are likely aware that you need to renew your certification status every two years.

NCBTMB Board Certified Renewal Requirements

To renew your NCBTMB Board Certified status, NCBTMB requires that you complete 24 hours of Continuing Education classes every two years. Three hours of the 24 hours must be in ethics. Three hours of the 24 hours must be in research. No more than 4 hours of the 24 hours may be in self-care. All NCBTMB CEs can be taken through home study or online courses through the Institute of Somatic Therapy, provider #280672-00.

AMTA and ABMP require that you take 48 hours of Massage Therapy CEs every four years. Both Massage Therapy agencies allow all CEs to be taken through online courses through the Institute of Somatic Therapy.

$100 Discount on NCBTMB Board Certified Renewal Package

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a special package designed specifically for massage therapists who are ready to renew their NCBTMB Board Certification. The package is made up of four courses, including

  • Research – Reflexology (3 CEs)
  • Ethics – Communication (3 CEs)
  • Pathology – Deep Vein Thrombosis (2 CEs)
  • Fibromyalgia – Stop The Suffering (16 CEs)

These four courses, if taken individually, would have a total tuition of $209, but with the special coupon provided on our course description page, you save $100.

With each of these massage therapy CEU courses, you earn an individual certificate of completion dated the date you complete the online test. Therefore, you can “straddle” your renewal periods by completing some of the courses now, and the remainder of the courses once your new renewal period begins. This is especially helpful for massage therapists who are licensed in a state jurisdiction where CEUs are required on a different timetable than their national renewal. All courses must be completed within one year of enrollment.

To enroll, or for more details, click here.

The Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider. NCBTMB continuing education Approved Provider Number 280672-00. Florida provider number MCE326 (50-1116 on CE Broker). New York provider number 0019. Our Massage Therapy CE hours are valid for ABMP, AMTA, and most states.

Reflexology May Help You Stop Smoking - by admin@mcb on November 28 2017

Reflexology May Help You Stop Smoking

Cigarette smoking is linked to hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs and lost productivity, and nearly a half million deaths each year. Reflexology can help reduce cravings, as well as help the body restore health to the lungs and respiratory system.

Case Study – Reflexology for Smoking

E. LoResa Robertson, LMT, CST reports on a case study she performed on the ability of reflexology to reduce the urge to smoke. The case study involved a 56-year-old female with a desk job who was smoking 20 or more cigarettes per day. She also reported neck and shoulder pain. During her morning and afternoon work breaks, instead of a smoking break, she received a 15-minute reflexology treatment. These twice-a-day sessions continued for four weeks (20 consecutive workdays).

At the end of the 20 days, her cigarette use decreased approximately 50% (from 20+ to 8–10 cigarettes per day). She also reported a significant reduction in a Numeric Pain Rating Scale, going from a 9 out of 10, to a 2 out of 10 rating, over the 20 days. She also experienced a reduction on her Fagerstrom Test for Cigarette Dependency score, going from a 5/9 to a 3/9. Other positive benefits that she reported included more sleep each night, a feeling of increased energy, an improved appetite, and overall greater level of relaxation.

Reflexology Points for Quitting Smoking

In the book Feet First: A Guide to Foot Reflexology, authors Laura Norman and Thomas Dale Cowan claim that reflexology may significantly reduce the irritability and anxiety that accompany nicotine withdrawal. Their recommendation is that anyone wanting to stop smoking should have 15 to 20 minutes of reflexology twice weekly, or any time an urge to smoke becomes hard to resist. Reflexology points recommended include points linked to the solar plexus, lungs, diaphragm, and heart, as well as several glands: the adrenal, pineal, pituitary and thyroid glands.

Michelle R. Kluck, author of Hands on Feet: The New System That Makes Reflexology a Snap!, also recommends reflexology for those wishing to stop smoking. The points that she has found helpful include areas of each foot that relate to the function and health of the brain (to ease cravings), and areas that relate to the respiratory system (to help with breathing).

Learn to Perform Reflexology for Feet and Hands

To learn a complete, full-body routine for foot and hand reflexology, the Institute of Somatic Therapy offers a 16 CE online course for massage therapists, titled Reflexology for Feet and Hands. We also offer a 3 CE online research course, titled Research – Reflexology. Both courses are valid for massage therapy continuing education for NCBTMB, AMTA, ABMP, and most states. To learn more about each course, click on the following links:
Reflexology for Feet and Hands
Research – Reflexology

Low Back Pain – Psychological? - by admin@mcb on October 30 2017

Low Back Pain – Psychological?

Is Low Back Pain Caused by Our Emotions?

We’ve all used expressions similar to something or someone being “a pain in the neck” (or lower), but did we stop to consider that pains in our body, especially low back pain, may actually be brought on by a situation or relationship? More and more health care providers are starting to see that low back pain could be a result of psychological or emotional origins. This would include stress or relationship upheaval, rather than physical causes.

This is not true in all cases, and unexplained back pain should be assessed by your primary healthcare provider. Back pain could actually be a symptom of a more serious problem, such as a kidney stone, aortic aneurysm, appendicitis, gynecological issue, or other conditions.

The number one cause of job disability is back pain. In the USA alone, nearly one hundred billion (yes, billion with a b) dollars is spent on back pain each year. It is also often a gateway into opioid use, which causes chemical dependencies and an alarmingly high rate of deaths.

Back Pain Doctors Recognize the Mind/Body Link

People may not want to think that their very real physical pain has an emotional or psychological causes, but more and more medical studies are bearing this out.

The late Dr. John Sarno, “America’s most famous back pain doctor” (according to an article at, believed and taught that we unconsciously cause our own pain. He explained that pain is our brain’s response to stress, anger or fear that we are suppressing. By not addressing such emotions, our brains cope by redirecting the emotional impulses to restrict blood flow to certain parts of our body. This will result in pain. The pain serves as a distraction from the emotions that we consciously or subconsciously suppress.

Dr. Sarno firmly believed most people could overcome their pain if they were willing to acknowledge its psychological roots. To recover, he encouraged his clients to maintain their normal physical activity, and stop treatment for the pain. He also advised them to talk back to their brain, telling it they were no longer willing to feel the physical pain of repressed emotions. Patients should also stop repressing their emotions, stop thinking of themselves as having a physical injury, and accept that they had the mental power to overcome the pain.

Dr. Mel Pohl, with the University of Nevada School of Medicine, also believes emotions are a primary cause of pain. He claims that emotions trigger as much as 80 percent of all pain, including low back pain.

New Medical Guidelines for Treating Low Back Pain

This view has become so prevalent that the American College of Physicians recently issued updated treatment guidelines for low back pain. In order to avoid the use of opioids or other potentially addictive drugs, they now recommend the use of non-pharmacologic treatment. This includes superficial heat, massage, acupuncture, or spinal manipulation, and exercise or mindfulness-based stress reduction such as tai chi or yoga.

While massage therapists are not counselors or psychologists, if they have clients with recurring back pain of no specific origin, and medical causes have been ruled out, they should recommend that their client consider ways to reduce any emotional factors that could be contributing to the pain.

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Institute of Somatic Therapy offers online continuing education courses for massage therapists. Visit us at for all of your CE needs.

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Child Health Day is October 2, 2017 - by admin@mcb on September 27 2017

Child Health Day is October 2, 2017

Child Health Day was first proclaimed in 1928 by President Calvin Coolidge. It is observed on the first Monday of October each year. Organizations such as the American Child Health Association, the American Federation of Labor, and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs were the original supporters of this special day of observance.

Why is Child Health Day Important?

Child Health Day helps spark or increase people’s awareness of ways to minimize or alleviate health problems faced by children in America. The day focuses on a range of child health issues such as prenatal care, adolescent health, the impact of daycare on a child’s development, preventing injuries, and healthy eating and lifestyle choices. According to the Heath Resources and Services Administration, about one in six children between 2 and 19 in the United States is overweight. This is a risk factor for serious health consequences including asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

How is Child Health Day Observed?

Health professionals and health organizations across the United States take part in this day through various activities and events. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) takes on an active role in providing educational resources for parents, children and schools about issues such as healthy choices, fitness, and child obesity prevention.

The Maternal and Child Health Library also actively participates in Child Health Day through activities that focus on healthy eating and physical activity for children and their parents or parental figures. The library provides information on nutrition for children and adolescents, the importance of physical activity, and nutrition for pregnant women. Michael Lu, MD, MPH, Associate Administrator, Maternal and Child Health, states, “We envision an America where all children and families are healthy and thriving, where every child and family – regardless of circumstances – has a fair shot at reaching their fullest potential.”

How Can Massage Therapists Observe Child Health Day?

Massage therapists are well aware of the many scientifically backed studies that show a wide ranging positive benefit of infant massage on our children. We at the Institute of Somatic Therapy encourage all of our Certified Infant Massage Therapists/Instructors to hold a free infant massage class in celebration of Child Health Day.

Click here to learn more about becoming a Certified Infant Massage Therapist, through the Institute of Somatic Therapy.

Should Pregnant Woman Receive the Flu Vaccine? - by admin@mcb on September 12 2017

Should Pregnant Woman Receive the Flu Vaccine?

Flu season is nearly here, and the push for flu vaccinations will be starting. Pregnant women need to give careful consideration to whether or not they should receive the vaccine.

Flu vaccine package inserts state that safety and effectiveness have NOT been established in pregnant women. This means there are no studies showing pregnant women will benefit from flu vaccination. Nor are there any studies to support the claim that getting vaccinated during pregnancy is in fact safe.

What are the risks of flu vaccination during pregnancy?

An article by Dr. Joseph Mercola states, “Research has shown that stimulating a woman’s immune system during midterm and later-term pregnancy significantly increases the risk that her baby will develop autism during childhood, and/or schizophrenia during the teenage years or early adulthood. It may also increase the risk of seizures in the baby, and later, as an adult. In fact, a number of neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems can occur in babies born to women immunologically stimulated during pregnancy.” (Click here to read the article.)

Where can pregnant women get information about vaccine safety during pregnancy?

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is a national charitable, non-profit educational organization founded in 1982. NVIC launched the vaccine safety and informed consent movement in America in the early 1980’s and is the oldest and largest consumer led organization advocating for the institution of vaccine safety and informed consent protections in the public health system.

Barbara Loe Fisher, Co-Founder and President of NVIC, writes in a November 2013 article posted on their website: “Although since the 1970’s public health officials have recommended influenza vaccinations for pregnant women in the second or third trimester, relatively few obstetricians promoted the vaccine until the past decade when, in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strengthened recommendations that all pregnant women, healthy or not, should get a flu shot in any trimester…. With these recommendations, the time-honored rule of avoiding any potential toxic exposure that might interfere with the normal development of the fetus has been suspended and replaced with an assumption that vaccination during pregnancy is safe.”

NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about the risks and complications of diseases and vaccines and speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision.


Depression Linked to Premature Births - by admin@mcb on November 16 2016

Depression Linked to Premature Births

Is depression linked to premature births?

Is depression linked to premature births? The International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG) recently published a study performed in Sweden. Researched studied over 350,000 births between 2007 and 2012. The study was looking for a correlation between premature births and depression in either parent. To be classified as having depression, either parent had to either be on antidepressant medication or receive hospital care during the one year period ending in the second trimester. This is roughly six months before the pregnancy and the first six months into the pregnancy. The study also considered whether the onset of depression was recent or had been ongoing.

The study revealed that indeed depression linked to premature births. Mothers who were depressed (either recent or ongoing) had a 30 – 40% chance of delivering preterm. Fathers with new depression led to a 38% increase in preterm delivery. Fathers with prior ongoing depression did not increase the odds of a preterm birth.

How does depression impact length of pregnancy?

One of the study’s authors, Professor Anders Hjern, said: “Depression of a partner can be considered to be a substantial source of stress for an expectant mother. This may result in the increased risk of very preterm birth seen in our study. Paternal depression is also known to affect sperm quality, have epigenetic effects on the DNA of the baby, and can also affect placenta function. However, this risk seems to be reduced for recurrent paternal depression, indicating that perhaps treatment for the depression reduces the risk of preterm birth.”

He went on to suggest that depression screening should be considered in both parents to help decrease the chance of a premature birth in their offspring.

Dr Patrick O’Brien, an obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said: ” We know that between 12% and 20% of women experience anxiety and/or depression during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth. This research is interesting as it finds that paternal mental health can also have an effect on the health of the baby.”

Prenatal Massage and Depression

What does this mean for massage therapists specializing in prenatal massage? Massage therapy has been linked to decreased depression in several studies done at the Touch Research Institute. Massage therapists should encourage the fathers of pregnant clients to also receive massage. By doing so, you can potentially help increase the odds that your client will have a full term labor. It is also important to be sure that both parents take part in learning infant massage, since studies also show that the massage giver experiences stress reduction as well.

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers certification courses in prenatal massage and infant massage. Be sure to view all of our package options as you enroll.

Texas Massage Therapy Continuing Education Requirements - by admin@mcb on October 05 2016

Texas Massage Therapy Continuing Education Requirements

Texas Massage Therapy Continuing Education Requirements

Texas massage therapy continuing education requirements are 12 hours of continuing education every two years. Courses approved by the NCBTMB are accepted by the State of Texas. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB (Provider #280672-00), which means that our hours are valid for Texas CE requirements.

Online Continuing Education

As a Texas massage therapist, you are allowed to take all 12 hours of your continuing education online, provided that the content is cognitive. Cognitive courses are courses that teach concepts related to massage therapy, such as anatomy, physiology, etc. Kinesthetic courses are courses that teach a hands-on massage therapy technique, such as infant massage, hot stone massage, etc. Kinesthetic courses will not count toward your Texas massage therapy continuing education requirements. When taking courses specifically to fulfill your Texas massage therapy continuing education, be sure to take courses that are classified as cognitive courses (example: Prenatal Fundamentals, Aromatherapy, etc).

Texas massage therapists are allowed to take kinesthetic courses online for their own personal education and skill enhancement. The online kinesthetic courses you take will be valid for you to legally practice, even though the hours earned will not apply toward your Texas massage therapy license renewal.

Taking Both Cognitive and Kinesthetic Courses

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers many cognitive courses to satisfy Texas massage therapy continuing education requirement. We’ve even split our most popular course topic, pregnancy massage, into two segments in order to separate the cognitive part of the course from the kinesthetic part of the course. The pregnancy massage certification consists of two 12 CE sections. Step One, Prenatal Massage Fundamentals, is cognitive, and will fulfill the 12 CEs needed to renew your Texas massage therapy license. Step Two, Prenatal Massage Techniques, is kinesthetic, so it will not count toward the 12 CEs needed to renew your license. Texas massage therapists who take both sections and complete the required homework documentation to earn the title of Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist will be completely legal to practice hands-on prenatal massage with their Texas massage therapy license.

To visit the Texas Department State Health Services website dealing with massage therapy continuing education requirements, go to