Welcome to


Options Institute

Massage Therapy School



The school has a 645 hour training program in Massage Therapy.  Students will receive a diploma on completion of this program. Additionally, four certificates of completion are awarded for various types of massage.  These certificates of completion are in Shiatsu, Reflexology, Orthopedic Neuromuscular Therapy, and Sports Massage.  During this program the student will have the opportunity to gain experience by working on premise in the supervised student clinic on members of the general population.  Additionally, the student will learn 8 entirely different bodywork routines for the body which can be integrated together and customized for the individual client.  This program is for the really serious student who would like to have a lifetime professional career in massage and excellent employment opportunities as well as solid assessment skills and a smorgasbord of techniques to choose from. Students begin learning hands on routines starting on week one! It generally takes 14 months for daytime students and 19-20 months for evening/weekend students to complete the program.


 Possible Occupations on Graduation

This program is designed to fit the needs of students looking to enter the occupation of massage in a wide variety of settings, including Wellness Centers, Your Own Private Practice, Medical and Chiropractic Offices, Day Spas, Resorts, Sports Medicine Clinics, Fitness Health Centers, and more.

This well-rounded program will prepare students to take the MBLEx, which is the licensing exam.  This is required should you wish to work in Pennsylvania and the majority of the other states. Our students are well prepared to take the MBLEx, due to the breadth of our program. Additionally, our program content meets New Jersey requirements to be able to bypass taking the MBLEx, yet still receive a New Jersey massage license!   

Employment Rates for our Graduates

The following statistics resulted from our most recent annual survey of graduates. 100% of our graduates of our Massage Therapy Program are employed in the field of massage! Students who are employed are either working for another, self-employed, or a combination of both.


The following courses comprise the 645 Hour Massage Therapy Program. Already licensed continuing ed students may take some of the following as a la carte courses.

Deep Muscle Massage (117 hours)

The student will learn a wonderful Deep Muscle Massage technique. Additionally, the student will be taught the effects of postural distortion and dysfunctional biomechanics.  A thorough understanding of how the body gets into pain and then out of it will be covered, so the student may communicate this to his/her clients as well as to medical professionals.  All stages of client rehabilitation will be covered.  The student will also learn the basic anatomy and kinesiology of the muscles, bones, anatomical directions, and anatomical movements.  The student will learn to work the muscles of the body, using crème or oil, while applying elements of Shiatsu, Swedish massage and Polarity.  Mobilization exercises are learned for each area of the body using the Aaron Mattes system of active isolated stretching.  All of these techniques are then combined to provide a relaxing and invigorating massage.


Holistic principles, the body/mind connection, the pros and cons of different work settings, pricing, marketing strategies, record keeping, business ethics, atmosphere, and many aspects of setting up and operating a massage business will be taught.    The student will be taught the appropriate use of medical terminology in order to effectively relate his/her knowledge to other health care practitioners, as well as how to relate theoretical knowledge to clientele in laymen’s terms.  A major focus is on body mechanics, so that the student may learn to use his or her body most efficiently. Other subjects include benefits of massage, contraindications and precautions (ie: for pregnant women, recent injuries, high blood pressure, and other conditions), and nutrition and pathology.


During the final two weeks, the student will administer a supervised massage in its entirety.  Clear notes are provided in binders to minimize note-taking, containing all theoretical knowledge and step by step guidance on how to do the routines.


Course Objectives:  Upon successful completion, the student will be able to administer a relaxing massage in a professional manner.  The student will have a holistic context in which to perform massage. The student will be able to assist their clients with mobilization exercises for their own self-maintenance.  The student will have a basic understanding of Anatomy and Kinesiology and a thorough understanding of pain mechanisms and how massage works scientifically to relieve pain.


Deep Muscle Massage is instructed by Kim Santos (Daytime) and Carmen Weaver (Evenings).

Clinic (105.5 hours)

Prerequisite:  Completion of Deep Muscle Massage. 

Students work at the school under supervision on clients provided by the school.  Sessions last 1¼ hours, including one hour with the client, 15 minutes to do intake forms and/or review client histories, to write up session notes, and to review evaluations from clients.  Students' posture and body mechanics will be evaluated so they learn to use their body most efficiently while performing massage. There are two levels of Clinic in the Massage Therapy Program. In level one, students need to complete an introductory class plus 32 clinic sessions done over 17 weeks (2 clients per week). In level two, students will complete an introductory class, plus 35 clinic sessions done over 18 weeks (2 clients per week, one client on week one lecture week). Massage Therapy Program students will have the opportunity to stay with some of the same clients over consecutive weeks in the second level of their program to help them evaluate their ability to make therapeutic progress with their clients. Students will specifically be working to see postural improvements, increased range of motion, and a reduction of pain in their clients. These sessions are a great way to gain self-confidence and the experience that employers are looking for.

Course Objectives: Students will fine tune their massage skills and body mechanics through client and instructor feedback.  Students gain practice in documenting client sessions.  Students will learn to manage their session time more effectively, working within a 50 minute to 1 hour time frame.  Students will gain experience individualizing their massage with real life clients of various conditions, gender and ages.

Clinic is instructed and supervised by Laura Stauffer 

Anatomy and Physiology: Level I (59.5 hours)

Prerequisite: Completion of first eleven full days of Deep Muscle Massage or previous training in anatomy

During this course students will study the major physiological systems of the body from a holistic perspective and in order to prepare for either massage licensing exam.  The systems studied include Cell & Tissues, Skeletal, Muscular, Integumentary, Digestive, Respiratory, Cardiovascular, Lymphatic, Excretory, Nervous, Reproductive and Endocrine.  There will be a major focus on how these systems interrelate and are potentially affected through massage.  Dysfunction and Pathology within these systems and common ailments as they relate to massage will be studied.  Medical terminology, including prefixes, suffixes, and root words are studied. Throughout the course we will explore anatomy and kinesiology (actions) of the major muscle groups within the body, building upon what was learned in Deep Muscle Massage.  Mid- level and superficial muscles will be palpated.  Lab time will be spent identifying major landmarks, i.e. bony prominences and the attachments of superficial and mid-level muscles.


This course will better prepare students to understand day-to-day situations presented by their clientele.  Knowing the correct medical terminology taught in this course, students will also be able to more accurately communicate with their clients, physicians, chiropractors, allied health professionals and insurance companies as well as conduct themselves with greater assurance and professionalism.  Knowledge in Anatomy and Physiology is a prerequisite for training in many advanced bodywork modalities including Sports Massage and Orthopedic Neuromuscular Therapy. A holistic health framework will be incorporated throughout this class.


Anatomy and Physiology: Level I is instructed by Dr. Robert F. Swift Jr.

Anatomy and Physiology: Level II (52.5 hours)

Prerequisite:  Completion of first ten weeks of Anatomy and Physiology: Level I, or OT or PT background

Kinesiology and many pathologies within the neuro-muscular and musculo-skeletal systems will be studied, e.g. scoliosis and its effect on viscera and its corresponding muscular patterns, postural distortion, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel, Periformis Syndrome, frozen shoulders, occupational related injuries, and many others. Students will learn to muscle test to see if all the muscle groups are working and if the muscles are firing in proper sequence. This course will thoroughly cover trigger point referral patterns as well.  Lab time will be spent reviewing once more the major landmarks, i.e. bony prominences and the attachments of superficial and mid-level muscles.  This course will provide additional preparation for either licensing exam. Holistic health concepts will be incorporated throughout this class. Students will have the option of building all the muscles of the body with clay on models of the Maniken® II under the direction of the instructor, yielding a 3-D perspective and a kinesthetic learning experience.


Anatomy and Physiology: Level II is instructed by Dr. Robert F. Swift Jr.

Reflexology (14 hours)

Reflexology is a science that deals with the principle that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands relative to every organ, system, and body part.  The goals of reflexology are to reeducate, repattern, and recondition the nerves through the neural/electrical system of the body.  Through the application of thumb or finger walking techniques the nerve pathways are stimulated, thus restoring homeostasis.  Students will gain much hands-on experience, learning applied pressure techniques.  Students will learn the history of Reflexology, as well as the different anatomy systems.  Detailed foot and hand charts will be given to the student.  A certificate of completion is received. This is an introductory course. Should you wish to practice Reflexology as a profession, more extensive training is available.


Course Objectives:  The students will have a basic understanding of what Reflexology is and how it works. The student will be able to incorporate foot and hand Reflexology into their massage sessions. 

Reflexology is instructed by Stephanie Shelly 

Shiatsu: Level I (92 hours)

Shiatsu is a strong healing modality and relaxing Asian therapy employing palm and finger pressure on up to 365 body areas and points (tsubo).  Stimulation to these tsubo opens the body’s “chi” energy flow (invigorates).  Emphasis is on setsu shin (palpation and touch diagnosis), learning the fourteen major meridians, and the most commonly used points. Ampuku, oriental diagnosis, the five element theory, and Bo alarm points and Yu points, source points, contraindications, use of hara, tonification, and sedation are learned.  Students will gain experience working on a low massage table.  Students also have the option to work on a padded floor surface (traditional) as they so choose.  Techniques are given for prone and supine positions, and options for administering shiatsu in a seated chair position.  Many specific techniques are given that are helpful for the elderly and the infirm, including for conditions such as low back pain and sciatica. Do-In (self massage), Asian Acu-yoga, and Qigong are taught as self maintenance exercises as well as meditation techniques to help ground and center the practitioner and to cultivate the practitioner’s energy.

Course Objectives:  The student will gain a larger perspective and holistic framework from which they can view bodywork and healing.  The student will be able to apply Eastern principles and shiatsu techniques into their regular massages, thereby contacting their clients in a deeper way and increasing the effectiveness of the bodywork.  The student will be able to use shiatsu as a healing modality in and of itself.

Shiatsu is instructed by Lee Ann Price

                                                     Shiatsu Class Students

Shiatsu Level II (32.5 hours)

Prerequisite:  Shiatsu Level I


Students will learn how common complaints are diagnosed and treated using shiatsu.  They will diagnose the body structure, face, tongue and 12 pulses, and then develop unique individual treatments based on diagnosis.  The 14 traditional meridians will be reviewed plus students will learn Masunaga’s extended meridian system.  Students will learn dynamic advanced stretches and hand techniques and build upon what they already know.  Students will deepen their personal energy cultivation through meditation movement exercises and chi self-massage.  A combined certificate of completion is received for both levels.

Shiatsu is instructed by Lee Ann Price

Orthopedic Neuromuscular Therapy  Levels I-IV: (60.5 hours)

Prerequisite: Completion of Deep Muscle Massage or any basic bodywork training, and completion of the first ten weeks of Anatomy and Physiology I or the equivalent. Either level II or III may be taken as the second course in the series.


Orthopedic Neuromuscular Therapy is a method of pain relief and postural correction which utilizes basic orthopedic principles as well as neural reflex pathways from trigger points, joints, and nerves to reduce muscle tension, relieve pain, and to balance the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system.  Soft tissue manipulation is done and pressure is applied to specific points to alleviate myofascial dysfunctions, fibrotic adhesions, and trigger points.  An anatomical review will be given at the beginning of each level.  In each level, focus will be on learning the trigger point pain patterns, their causes, and the neuromuscular therapy techniques.  Students will learn treatments for common problems such as back pain, buttock's pain, sciatica, pelvic/sacroiliac joint imbalances, "short leg" syndromes, whiplash, TMJ, herniated discs, disc bulges, and pinched nerves.  Additionally, students will learn treatments for common problems of the shoulders, arms, knees, ankles, and feet.  Each level is two days.  A certificate of completion will be given on completion of the four levels.  Wonderful DVDs demonstrating all techniques learned in detail are available for purchase for each level.  

Course Objectives:  Students will have a thorough knowledge of the Trigger Point Patterns of the muscles being reviewed.  Students will be able to successfully perform ONMT techniques that can help the above problems.

Orthopedic Neuromuscular Therapy is instructed by Michelle Radcliffe

Practice Policies, Procedures, and Ethics (21.5 hours)

Prerequisite: Completion of Deep Muscle Massage.

This very practical course teaches professional office procedures and etiquette, either working for someone else or for yourself.  Advertising do's and don'ts, resume writing, interview skills, communication skills, employment agreements, and legal contracts will be covered.  Legal concepts (including lawsuit protection and current Blue Cross/Blue Shield regulations as they relate to massage), SOAP notes (client session documentation using standard abbreviations & terminology and establishing a treatment plan) will be taught.  Ways to run your office more efficiently will be covered, including office forms for referrals, massage questionnaire, consent, release, progress, pain chart, HCFA 1500.  Students will also learn a variety of hands-on techniques which really produce results including trigger points and trigger point patterns and use of the Intra cell.  The major effects of medical massage and healing phases are covered.  This is a highly popular course that really puts it all together for the students.  Information on how the new massage licensing bill affects you will be included.  A certificate of completion for 21.5 hours is received if you are taking this as an NCBTMB continuing education course.  If you are a licensed massage practitioner taking this course for licensing renewal, 5 hours of this course will count as your required Ethics course and a total of 16 hours will count toward license renewal, all of which will be indicated on your certificate.

Practice Procedures, Policies, and Ethics is instructed by Dr. Richard V. Simeone

Sports Massage: American/European (37 hours)

Prerequisite:  Deep Muscle Massage or any basic bodywork training and first 10 weeks of Anatomy and Physiology: Level I or equivalent.

The student will learn two styles of giving Sports Massage.  One has its roots in Rich Phaigh’s technique and the other is the Eastern European technique.  The main focus will be on maintaining athletes in between workouts and competitions, encouraging athletes toward peak performance and total wellness. These techniques may be used with all clients, not just athletes.  Numerous adjunct and pertinent topics for working with athletes will be covered.  A certificate of completion is received on completion of both levels.

Course Objectives:  Students will be able to assess and address muscle/skeletal imbalances in order to prevent occurrence and reoccurrence of injuries.  Students will be able to identify sports specific soreness patterns for running, cycling, swimming, and racket sports.  

Sports Massage: American/European is instructed by Donna Ondek (daytime and some evenings) and Rick Palmer (most evenings)

Sports Massage: Russian/American (46 hours)

Prerequisite: Sports Massage: American/European

The student will learn two styles of giving Sports Massage, one derived from Benny Vaughn’s technique and the other from Russian Sports Massage.  The main focus will be on performing Outcome-Based Massages using client assessment, compressive strokes, cross fiber, mobilization exercises, strain/counterstrain, and myofascial techniques.  Pre and post-event massage will be covered.   Numerous adjunct and pertinent topics for working with athletes will be covered including the three phases of soft tissue repair and safe usage of hydrotherapy (hot and cold packs).  On completion the student will be able to perform safe and effective massages to treat hypertonicity of muscles associated with sports injuries and athletic performance.  These techniques may be used with all clients, not just athletes.   A certificate of completion is received.

Course Objectives:  Students will be able to perform safe and effective massage therapies for athletes who become injured, provide effective therapy for pre-event, inter-event, and post-event massage, and add to their knowledge of maintenance massage.  By working with the physiological systems of the body, the therapist will learn to work smarter not harder.

Sports Massage: Russian/American is instructed by Donna Ondek (daytime and some evenings) and Rick Palmer (most evenings)

CPR and AED (3 hours)

This CPR and Heartsaver AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) course teaches the basic techniques of adult, child, and infant CPR and how to use an AED. Students also learn about the barrier devices in CPR and giving first aid for choking. The course teaches how to recognize the signs of four major emergencies: heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest, and foreign body airway obstruction.  This course requires the successful completion of a written and skill evaluation.  A course completion card from the American Heart Association is issued for this course valid for two years. 

Career Actualization (4 hours) 

Prerequisite: Deep Muscle Massage and 65% or greater completion of the Massage Therapy Program. 

Career Actualization describes in detail the procedures and processes necessary for obtaining licensure in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey as a Massage Therapist.  Regulations and requirements regarding testing by the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam (MBLEx) is covered in detail as well as Board Certification. Additionally, some legalities necessary to know for business startup and codes and regulations that need to be followed once one is in practice will be covered.

Course Objectives:  Students will understand the step-by-step process and requirements necessary to obtain Massage Therapy licensure and relicensure every two years in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


Career Actualization is instructed by Donna Ondek

Diploma and Certificates of Completion

Upon completion of 645 hours of study, the student will receive a diploma in Massage Therapy.  Additionally, several certificates of completion are awarded for various subjects taken within the program as noted in the course descriptions.



Student/Teacher Ratio

The student/faculty ratio varies from class to class as needed for optimal learning.  It averages 8 students or less per instructor for hands on classes and 12 students per instructor for lecture classes.


Schedule of Classes

Classes are available on weekdays, evenings, and weekends. It is possible to switch from one time slot into another if your schedule should switch after you begin your classes.

Click here to see Tuition and Supply Fees  

Call 610-419-3535 or click here to Contact Us


Newest Members