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Touchstone Healing Arts School in Vermont

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With the seemingly, ever-increasing pace of our lives, and the unpredictable nature of this turbulent planet, isn't it reassuring to know that there are places that offer respite from the storm? There are myriad teachings from time-honored traditions that provide practical skills and offer effective treatments for managing our varying degrees of tension and stress.

Here at Touchstone we have such a place; a light and plant-filled, warm and comfortable environment surrounded by ample parking and conveniently located amidst the busy "real world". Through four areas of focus, we hold the intention of truly embracing the holistic path to health and wellness.

Our school offers a 10-month experience of self-exploration and deep learning to provide students with all the skills needed to confidently step into the role of massage practitioner, a professional who is able to contribute to the work of spreading calm, ease and peace throughout the world.

Give yourself or someone you know the gift of therapeutic massage. Come and experience professional massage therapy from practitioners trained to exceed the national level requirements for therapeutic massage. We will tailor a session to suit your needs and offer a variety of effective styles and treatments given in beautifully appointed rooms that truly enhance this rejuvenating and relaxing experience.

Ease into a regular yoga practice in an inviting and convenient location with experienced and supportive teachers to guide you.

Offering enriching experiences for body, mind and spirit, our workshops are held throughout the year and are lead by experts in their field.

These are indeed changing times with more and more people searching for alternatives to mainstream approaches to health and wellness. The paradox is that the massage profession is becoming increasingly part of the mainstream as people discover its value. As this happens of course, the demand for this work grows and the need for furthering education increases.

Touchstone Healing Arts School of Massage was founded in the Fall of 1998 and with each passing year the program continues to strengthen as we fine tune our course offerings. It is both an honor and a privilege to be able to share the knowledge of this work with others. We have designed our program to balance academic and practical work with personal growth experiences, for we believe that massage isn’t just a profession, it’s a way of life.

We want to bring holistic healing back to the individual and massage is the form that we have found for that expression. We can only change ourselves and through that act, change the world.

May you never be the same again!

Swedish Massage Practitioner Training Program
This course addresses the whole person; body, mind and spirit. It also provides a solid foundation in therapeutic massage.

Touchstone Healing Arts School of Massage offers a 650 hour program in Swedish Therapeutic Massage. This course is a solid foundation in therapeutic massage, anatomy and physiology, clinical practice, professional development and communication skills. Upon completion of the program, graduates qualify for writing the NCTMB (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork) examination, although there is currently no licensing requirement in Vermont.

Bodywork, Practical --- Massage 1
Swedish massage provides a strong foundation for the study of all other massage modalities. We learn the classic massage manipulations that are reinforced through giving, receiving, and feedback. We emphasize massage application that is both sensitive and responsive to the tissues of the receiving individual, preparing the student to work shorter treatments, or in flowing, whole body sessions.

Massage II
Once confidence in basic Swedish massage is attained, students are ready for techniques that deepen their work or provide variety, creating a wealth of possibilities when devising a treatment session for an individual. Some of the modalities we cover are:

Deep Tissue Massage
In deep tissue massage, we learn to penetrate with intention through the layers of the body in ways that are safe for both giver and receiver. Using techniques such as trigger point therapy (point pressure on hyper-irritable areas in a muscle), isolated stretching, use of forearms and elbows.

Basic Reflexology
In this lively and informative component, students will learn the basic history behind reflexology, different theories of how reflexology works, the benefits and contraindications, and an effective choreography that provides the skills to begin incorporating reflexology into their practice. Students are well-prepared for further study in this complementary modality.

Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine
Students will gain a basic understanding of Eastern medical theory which includes: meridian energetics, five element theory, yin and yang, and acu-point location.

Hydrotherapy is the treatment of stress, injury, trauma, or chronic conditions through the medium of water in its three forms--solid, liquid, and vapor. In this component, students will learn the therapeutic application of steams baths, ice and heat.

The introduction to essential oils, their healing properties, and methods of blending and applying them to the body or using them in other ways.

Chair Massage
For those who have never received bodywork, chair massage is an excellent medium to introduce and promote the benefits of massage therapy. In this component, students will be taught a simple, efective flow which includes therapies for: neck, shoulders, arms and hands, and even legs and feet. Students will have the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned by working on the public at an on-site venue.

Student Clinic
In the student clinic, offered in the second part of our program, students integrate their classroom and practical skills, providing massage therapy to our surrounding community. Supported by staff supervision, students receive invaluable feedback from clients, keep records of their work, and have opportunities to reflect upon their experiences with instructors and each other.

Massage Theory
Being able to massage is one thing, understanding what it can do and record its results is another. In this section, we will cover the indications and contraindications for massage, professionalism, ethics, and chartkeeping, as well as learning the history of massage and massage theory.

Anatomy & Physiology
In order to deepen our massage practice, we must understand how the body works. The more we practice, the more our understanding develops, as does our appreciation for the intricacies and details of the human body. For many, this part of the program, learning about the structure and function of the body, is learning a new language. With patience, support and practice, this new way of perceiving our physical body reveals itself.

Osteology, Myology & Kinesiology
The study of the bones, the muscles, and the movements of the human body deepens the practice of any form of bodywork. As we explore these structures beneath the skin, we gain greater understanding of how and why we move.

An introduction to the body ill at ease, the study of disease. As we explore the healthy function of the body, we'll also look at some of the traditional Western diseases, when imbalances in our lives manifest physically.

Business Practices
Presentation and discussions throughout the year develop the concept of running one's own practice in a professional and ethical manner. Guest speakers are invited to share their experiences and knowledge from their field. Touchstone Healing Arts hosts a graduate panel, allowing current students to question past students on their experiences since graduating.

The way in which we move, breathe, stand, sit and walk are powerful expressions of our relationship with ourselves and our surroundings. Through the mediums of yoga, zhan zhuang chi kung (Chinese standing meditation), and other techniques, we will explore new ways of movement, opening our minds and bodies to healthier, more genuine expressions of ourselves. We will apply this new perception of movement to assist us in nurturing our bodies, and to remain balanced and grounded in the day to day practice of massage.

Students are encouraged to go as deeply as they choose into the experience of self-discovery that being part of a close group provides. We have ample opportunity to open up more fully to ourselves and each other as we develop trust and safe boundaries within the context of the group.Group check-in time is an effective way to develop listening skills and support others in the group. The container of the group is a very safe and loving place to share one's vulnerabilities, fears or joys.

Asian Bodywork Therapy Practitiner Training
September 16, 2006-July 7, 2007
Touchstone Healing Arts School of Massage offers a 500-hour program in Asian Bodywork Therapy. This course provides students with a solid foundation in Traditional Oriental Medicine theory, and two forms of Oriental massage, Amma massage and Shiatsu massage which will give students the tools necessary to treat a wide range of disorders and imbalances. A western body science class is also part of the program although students with prior instruction in Anatomy and Physiology may not need to participate in this 100 hour portion of the training. Additionally, business practices and personal and professional development will be covered.

Traditional Oriental Medicine
This course will involve a detailed study of Oriental medicine theory, including the body's meridian system, Yin Yang Theory, 5- Element Theory and the 8 Principles of diagnosis. The internal and external causes of disease will also be studied. As well as Oriental pattern differentiation. Additionally, diagnostic methods of finding disharmony (pulse, abdominal and tongue diagnosis) will be explored.

Yin Yang Theory
This is the foundation of Oriental Medicine. We will explore the role of Yin Yang theory historically and how it applies to us in modern life. As our understanding increases we will begin to see how by balancing these energies we can achieve balance within ourselves and incorporate that knowledge in our bodywork treatments.

5 Element Theory
This is the study of Wu Xing, the 5 transformational energies. These are represented as wood, fire earth, metal and water. We will examine how these energies correspond to nature as well as how they come to manifest within us by a delicate balance of their properties in our energetic system.

The Body's Meridian System
This part of the course will explore the anatomy of energy. The body's energetic system is vast and so there will be an in-depth study of meridians, their location and pathways and the energetic connection to the internal organs. There will be a study of the functions of the internal organs energetic properties and how working with the pathways of the meridians and specific points along their pathway can create balance within the organs.

The Cause of Disease
Oriental Medicine looks at the body in a holistic way and attributes disharmonies to either internal or external causes. The internal causes of imbalance are the emotions and the external causes are the environment. They are expressed as wind, heat, cold, damp, dry and summer heat. We will look at how imbalance of these qualities forms patterns of disharmony that can be linked to the internal or external causes.

8 Principles
The 8 principles is the initial step towards pattern diagnosis. It is the fundamental way to classify disharmony and will help students develop a deeper level of understanding of imbalances and how to create a treatment plan.

Oriental Pattern Differentiation
This is a more advanced look at the internal organs and the signs and symptoms that occur when they become imbalanced. Students will be able to recognize patterns of disharmony and what systems of the body are affected after this in depth study.

Diagnostic Methods
Oriental Medicine has 4 main methods of diagnosis: feeling (palpating), asking (questioning), seeing (observing), hearing (listening). In this section of the course we will focus on developing skill in the techniques of pulse diagnosis, Hara diagnosis (abdomen diagnosis), tongue diagnosis, asking and listening, with the goal of being able to recognize and identify patterns of disharmony.

A focus will be placed on cultivating the sensitivity of the practitioner through the practice of Qi Gong, meditation, and proper body mechanics. This will help emphasize rooting and cultivating internal energy to prevent fatigue of the practitioner.

Amma Massage
Amma massage is considered one of the first formal methods of healing in Japan. Its principles of Oriental Medicine theory is rooted in the Taoist philosophy of healing dating back to the Chinese medical text, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine (2697-2597 B.C.E.). Amma is a form of massage that works to correct the subtle imbalances of an individual's energy or meridian system. Using different strokes, vibrations and manipulations, Amma massage stimulates the flow of energy (qi), blood and circulates and drains lymphatic fluid. Amma massage is performed on a table and is appropriate for everyone. Amma requires sensitivity to the patient, and so an emphasis on softening, and sensitizing the hands to patient will be discussed, as well as exercises to enhance one's experience. Amma will be broken up into two sections for ease of learning.

Amma I
Here we will learn the "form" of amma massage. This section will include exercises to keep the hands strong and sensitive, as well as an entire body massage that includes front and back treatment.

Amma II (applied amma massage)
This section is going to combine what we learn in the theory portion to what we learned in Amma I. What will emerge is a dynamic form of massage that can be applied to an individual's disharmony. Here will discuss how treat specific imbalances through touch and different techniques for the advanced practitioner

Shiatsu Massage
Shiatsu is a complete health care modality that works to correct an individual's energy system. Through diagnosing energy imbalances and identifying and addressing disharmonies with the use of pressure along the channels/meridians of the body, greater balance and well-being is achieved. Shiatsu is very effective at treating pain and injuries as well as internal imbalances. It is a form of acupressure that combines pressure with the application of gentle stretching, joint rotations and manipulations. By utilizing these methods Shiatsu can balance the body's ki (qi or energy), body and spirit.

The client is usually fully clothed, lying or sitting on a mat or futon on the ground. The practitioner utilizes hands, fingers, elbows, knuckles, knees and feet. There is no forceful pressure; all is done with gravity and body mechanics. What develops is a practice of self-healing and self-awareness where both giver and receiver feel refreshed and stretched.

Touchstone Healing Arts
205 Dorset Street
South Burlington, Vermont 05403

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