Boston Bodywork Program

Program Overview

The Boston Institute of Shiatsu and Complementary Therapies is pleased to introduce our brand new 'Boston Bodywork Program,' a 500-hour certification program in Shiatsu and Complementary Therapies beginning in September 2003.

The Boston Bodywork Program is multidisciplinary. We take pride in training well-rounded practitioners who can respond to their clients' needs with a wide array of treatment modalities. As the general public's awareness of the importance of physical, mental and spiritual health grows, this approach opens the door to a broad and diverse market for our graduates' services.

The Boston Bodywork Program integrates a dynamic curriculum of Shiatsu Technique, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Anatomical Science with Complementary Therapies such as Sotai, Neuromuscular Flexibility Training, Eastern and Western massage techniques as well as various philosophies of Nutrition. Shiatsu as the cornerstone of this curriculum provides two important fundamentals: a foundation of healing knowledge upon which the student can build by integrating multiple approaches and styles of healing; and the minimum educational requirement to become a licensed massage practitioner.

Completion of the Boston Bodywork Program qualifies the student to become a licensed massage therapist. An L.M.T. is able to practice healing bodywork modalities within local and state guidelines according to where the license is granted. Licensed massage therapies may build careers through self-employment at business establishments such as fitness clubs or spas.

The Boston Bodywork Program's curriculum conforms to the standards set by the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (A.O.B.T.A). Graduates will be eligible to become A.O.B.T.A. Certified Practitioners.


Basic & Side Form
72 hrs
This course will introduce Shiatsu techniques in two full treatment forms, Basic and Side. The Basic form treatment protocol is performed with the client in prone and supine positions, and serves as the foundation of all techniques that follow. The Side form is an excellent treatment position for pregnant women and clients who have difficulty lying face down. In addition to technique, students will also learn the location and basic functions of the 12 traditional meridians (energetic pathways), the concept of Ki (energy) in Chinese Medicine, principles of Yin/Yang and basic diagnostic techniques.

Zen Theory
88 hrs
Zen Shiatsu, developed by Master Masunaga in Japan, is a complete system of diagnosis and treatment, characterized by the palpation of the abdominal and back regions of the body which allows the practitioner to assess the condition of the Ki. Based on this assessment, students will learn how to design a unique treatment of the meridians with the intention of balancing the Ki. Students also will learn Masunaga's extended meridian pathways as well as his theory of the meridian energy functions as they manifest physically and psychologically.

Traditional Chinese Medicine
100 hrs
In this course, the theoretical foundation of TCM will be further explored. Students will learn the traditional meridian lines in great detail, the basics of pulse and tongue diagnosis, assessment based on Zang Fu Theory (Yin/Yang) the meridian therapy system based on the "Five Element Theory" and the concept of "Extraordinary Vessels". This course also includes a Lab component which introduces the student to various TCM techniques such as Moxabustion, Guasha, Cupping, Ion pumping Cords and Magnet Therapy.

Western Science
100 hrs
The Western Science component of the program is comprised of a course of study in Anatomy and Physiology. The Anatomy component focuses on learning the components of the human musculoskeletal structure. Students will be taught to identify the bones and major muscles of different regions of the body through a combination of lecture and palpation. The Physiology component focuses on exploring the major physiological processes of each organ system in the body. Students will be introduced to the significant molecules in physiology and the biology of cells and tissues. Correlations with Traditional Chinese Medical Theories will also be observed.

Business & Ethics
12 hrs
The Business portion will introduce students to resources for developing and marketing an independent practice, basic business building strategies, information regarding filing taxes as a practitioner, third party billing practices and information regarding licensing. The course will also address the practical aspects involved in a professional practice, the development of an effective intake form, and standard business practices in alternative health care. The Ethics portion will explore the dynamics of client/practitioner relationships and investigate the appropriate boundaries required to create the safest and most healing environment. While Business and Ethics are not often related to the healing arts, this section gives insight on how consideration of these domains are essential to setting the tone for successful, healing treatments while protecting both practitioner and client.

70 hrs Clinic
This program includes a strong clinical component to help the student develop hands-on skill and flexibility in adapting a personal technique to best suit the needs and desires of their clients. In the Student Clinic, students will refine assessment and diagnostic techniques, as well as reinforce the skill of implementing a complete treatment protocol. Students are required to perform 50 treatments in the Student Clinic, as required by the A.O.B.T.A., for certification.

Complementary Therapies Component
58 hrs
Shiatsu and TCM as the core curriculum is augmented with various Eastern and Western Complementary Therapies. Sotai, a Japanese structural adjustment technique, is often referred to as “Japanese gentle chiropractics” since it manipulates the body in a similar fashion. Traditionally used to prepare the body for Yoga and meditation, Thai Massage is a system of stretches and meridian pressure designed to balance the Ki and increase physical flexibility. Tui Na, one of the oldest forms of bodywork, is designed to regulate the flow of Ki by using pressure, stretches, percussion, and vibration. Western techniques like Deep-tissue Massage and Trigger point therapy are also explored to provide parallel distinctions when working with clients in need of more than just one approach to their ailments. The component is rounded out by a course in Nutritional Healing and the energetics of nutrition according to Traditional Chinese Medical Theory and various other approaches.

Attendance Options

The Boston Bodywork Program consists of 12 to 13 hours of class time per week over the span of 11 months, with semester and holiday breaks. Students may attend the Morning program three weekday mornings per week, or the Evening program three weekday evenings per week.


In the spirit of the inauguration of our new program, the tuition for the Fall 2003, 500-hour Boston Bodywork Program is discounted from $6500 to $4950 for the first 100 accepted applicants. In order to secure a placement in the program, a deposit of $220 will be required after admission is granted. Thereafter, a monthly payment of $430 will be due for 11 months, beginning in September.

Admission Requirements

To qualify for admission to the Boston Institute of Shiatsu and Complementary Therapies, prospective students must have a positive approach to life, and be academically qualified to master the course offerings. Applicants with disabilities will be individually evaluated to determine their ability to successfully complete the program and work in the field. Efforts will be made to provide reasonable accommodation for appropriate candidates. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED. The Boston Institute of Shiatsu and Complementary Therapies does not discriminate against any applicant on the basis of race, ethnic origin, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or religion. Incoming students are expected to have a serious vocational intent and the ability to finance their education.

Application Process

Prospective students must complete and submit an application form, along with all of the following required supporting documents and fees:

      --A 500-word essay stating why the applicant would like to attend The Boston Bodywork Program

      --One letter of reference from someone other than a family member.

      --Copy of High School Diploma or proof of equivalency

      --A $25.00 application/registration fee.

Upon receipt of the completed application form, a required interview with an admissions counselor will be scheduled. The counselor will review the applicant's qualifications and discuss program requirements, school policies, tuition and all fees with the applicant. Accepted applicants will receive a letter of acceptance and be asked to sign an enrollment agreement. Please contact BISCT for a catalog and application. Stay tuned for a downloadable application in PDF format.

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