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Port Townsend School Of Massage

PTSM Programs

A Career In Massage Therapy... YOUR WAY

Why This May Be Right For You >

Launch a career that actually GIVES you energy rather than draining you.  

Weekday Program >

Scheduled to finish your certificate more quickly.  

Weekend Program >

Work with your schedule to transition into a career you will love.  

Curriculum >

Designed to give you a full spectrum of the professional massage world.  

Tuition & Fees >

We offer 3 different plans and VA benefits.  

Instructors & Staff >

Our instructors have decades of combined experience in the field.  

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Elizabeth Piglowski
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Hi, I’m Elizabeth!

Owner of PTSM

I would like to invite you to say YES to the opportunity to work for yourself doing something that contributes positive energy and healing to the world, feel proud to give that positivity and energy to others, and trade in the old nine-to-five for flexible hours that gives you energy rather than draining you!
The demand for massage therapists has never been higher!  As more and more people are working longer and more stressful hours... there is a collective but silent cry for help.  Sometimes a massage is the only time a person has to pause, reflect, and just feel. If you want to be in that moment with others and offer them the power of healing energy, Port Townsend School of Massage is for you
We are a small school with a BIG heart... and we’re here to help you into a future full of energy, health, and healing.

Weekday Program

Monday - Wednesday for 10 Months

669 Credit Hours

Perfect for students with flexible or open schedules.

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Gets you certified faster so you can kickoff your career ASAP.

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Gives you an intensive and comprehensive education with plenty of time for practice.

The next Weekday program begins March 2024! 

WE ARE CURRENTLY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

It's Never to Soon to Apply

We can help you with getting organized and finding Financial Aid options to pay for school.  Call or email for information and to start a dialog on your future career in massage therapy!

Weekend Program

Meeting Every Other Weekend
Friday, Saturday & Sunday for 18 Months

669 Credit Hours

Perfect for students balancing maintaining a job while going to school.

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Works with your schedule while still allowing you to transition into a career you love.

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Spread out your education so it is simpler to accomplish without getting overwhelmed.

The next Weekend program begins September 2024! 

It's Never to Soon to Apply

This program is not about speed, it’s about accuracy.  It’s built in such a way that you can train and get your education while still maintaining your busy schedule.  It works well for those who need to commute, raise their family, work their job, etc.  It’s a terrific way to get your license with a humane and integrative schedule!

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Curriculum

The courses we designed will give you a full spectrum of the professional massage world. When you are done you will be fully prepared to sit for the Washington massage license certification exam. Read on to find out more about our specific courses you will take during the program.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

All the major systems of the body in relation to massage The goal of this course is to provide the massage practitioner with a solid base of understanding and the necessary resources to expand their knowledge. This course is structured to present anatomy and physiology in an interesting, concise, and stimulating manner. Throughout the course, students gain a thorough and applicable understanding of all the major systems of the body in relation to massage, health and healing.

Pathology

Common pathologies for each body system are studied including origins, signs and symptoms, and are studied in conjunction with the related anatomy and physiology subject matter. Appropriate delivery of specific massage techniques is addressed for a multitude of pathologies. How massage is indicated or is contraindicated for each disease or injury is an integral part of the class.

Swedish Massage

Skills acquired in this class build a solid foundation on which all subsequent hands-on coursework is based. The Swedish massage strokes and their physiological effects are thoroughly covered. The student learns to use the strokes to create an individualized massage for relaxation and health. Self-care and proper hygienic methods are emphasized. Body Mechanics – This portion of the program is introduced in our Swedish Massage Class and continues throughout the program. Students will learn useful skills to help protect their own bodies from injury. Students gain an understanding of basic centering, postural stance, energy awareness and movement in relation to practicing massage and in everyday life postures. SOAP Charting – SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) charting is a standard format for documenting treatment sessions in the health care field. Students begin learning their charting skills in Swedish Massage and continue throughout the remainder of the program. This ongoing instruction will teach the student how to chart simply, concisely and professionally. Upon completion students will be proficient in all stages of charting and be able to successfully communicate with other health care professionals as well as document their clients’ progress.

Special Populations

We’ll introduce massage as it pertains to the elderly, those who have been diagnosed, in treatment for and in recovery from cancer and pregnancy.

Kinesiology

This course offers a comprehensive examination of the major muscle groups including their location, origin, insertion, action and relationships to each other in movement. The function and movement of each type of joint is thoroughly examined. Classroom lecture, palpation skills and movement oriented exercises are combined to make this class enjoyable and invaluable in understanding the body’s mechanics of motion in respect to human anatomy.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue massage uses slow and steady pressure to access and positively affect the deeper layers of the body’s tissues, locating and treating areas that may be compromised. This course will introduce observation of postural imbalances, and will address factors leading toward tissue impairment, including injury and habitual posturing. Students will learn how to lengthen and potentially release holding patterns in the most effective and energy efficient way. The majority of this course is hands-on experience. Deep Tissue is more about accessing the deeper tissues in a mindful way as opposed to deep, hard pressure.

Clinical Treatments

This course covers the physiology of traumatic and overuse injuries, and appropriate massage treatments. We will examine stages and physiology of inflammation; healing stages; appropriate interviewing and charting for injury clients; observation and assessment of injury sites through visual assessment, range of motion, palpation and other assessment techniques. Postural assessment, introduced in deep tissue, will be examined on a more comprehensive level. Treatment techniques include Swedish strokes, deep tissue, cross fiber friction, and myofascial release. Types of conditions to be addressed include: sprains/strains, hypertonicities, repetitive stress syndrome, tendinosis/tendinitis, and neurovascular compression.

Professional Practices

The best hands-on technique in the world can fall flat if a professional demeanor is not developed with your client at the onset. These lectures offer the tools necessary to become the consummate professional in your bodywork practice. Areas of focus include marketing, business management, state and local laws, hygiene and record keeping. Before graduating, students will be guided through the steps required to take the Washington State exam.

Professional Ethics & Communication

This course is a key portion of our professional practices curriculum. The coursework is designed to improve the student massage practitioner’s awareness and abilities in communicating with their clients, other health professionals and their community at large. Verbal and non-verbal communication, client interaction, human behavior, boundaries, and the ethics of touch will be covered in this thought-provoking course.

Student Clinic

Student Clinic is an opportunity for each student to provide massage to the public under the supervision of a Licensed Massage Practitioner. Clinic provides a supportive atmosphere, preparing students for the transition from school to professional work as an LMT. Student Clinic occurs twice during the program. All the techniques learned may be integrated into massages during these clinics.

Elements of Eastern Philosophies and Practices

This course is an experiential introduction to theoretical and practical Eastern modalities; including the concepts of ki/qi/prana, yin & yang, basic meridians, chakra theory, shiatsu stretches, 5-Element and 8-Principle theories, treatment strategies, and demonstrations of other modalities. Discover how to activate acupressure points. Explore these centuries-old methods of keeping one’s ki/qi/prana, or life force, alive and well, and learn how to integrate elements of these philosophies into your bodywork practice.

Sports Massage

This course is an introduction to sports physiology, massage strokes, and sports injury assessment and treatment. The physiology component includes learning about changes that occur in a human body as a result of aerobic and strength training. The massage portion covers sports massage strokes and the application of these strokes to muscle groups to achieve specific results. The injury portion covers the assessment and appropriate treatment of many common sports injuries.

Hydrotherapy

This exciting, hands-on course covers the use of hot water, cold water and ice as useful complements to therapeutic massage. The physiological effects of hot and cold applications, as well as indications and contraindications for use will be taught.

On-Site Massage

On-site massage is the most accessible modality of massage used today. It is often the first type of massage ever received by the public, creating the perfect vehicle for public education about the benefits of massage. In this course, the student will learn how to give a healthful massage while seated in either a massage chair or at a desk. Students will be introduced to basic concepts in marketing, ethics, professionalism and documentation in managing an on-site business. Skills learned in this class may be used throughout the year in school-sponsored events which may include community outreach and public massage events.

Table Thai

This class teaches a selection of steps from the full (Traditional Thai Massage) form that can be done on the floor or taken to the massage table. Many of these Thai techniques can easily be integrated into any style of bodywork.

Pregnancy Practices

This course offers specific information about how to safely give massage to those in various stages of pregnancy and the benefits thereof. Physiological and anatomical changes and contraindications specific to pregnancy are thoroughly covered. Side-lying positioning, bolstering and other special massage techniques are considered.

Tuition

$12,800

Other Fees

Application Fee $100 • Books $640 • Massage Table $200 to $800 • Misc Supplies $500

Payment Plans
With Financial Assistance Possibilities

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Plan 1

0% Interest.

$1,000 down payment due two weeks before class starts with remainder due on the first day of class.

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Plan 2

5% Interest (a one time fee).

$1,000 down payment due two weeks before class starts. The remainder of the tuition is to be paid in monthly installments, with the first payment due 2 weeks before the first day of class. Payments must be completed by graduation.

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Plan 3

9% Interest (a one time fee).

With this option, each student’s situation is evaluated and individual payment plans are created with contract.  Please call and set up your individual meeting with our admission staff to discuss options.  This option allows students to extend tuition payments for 3 years.

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Financial Assistance Possibilities

VA Benefits

We accept the GI Bill® to pay for your massage education.

*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at benefits.va.gov/gibill

Is there other financial assistance?

There may be financial assistance available through the Workforce Investment Act if you meet certain low-income or worker retraining program criteria.

 

Contact your local WorkSource Center for more information at worksourcewa.com.

 

Another excellent resource for funding is washboard.wsac.wa.gov.

 

Alternative financing may also be available. Please make an appointment with the Director to discuss your options.

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Meet Your Staff & Instructors

Shannon Fox

Shanon Harrison Fox

Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology

Teaching embodied anatomy and physiology is my life. I have taught APP for the Port Townsend School of Massage for 8 years in addition to teaching kinesiology and continuing education workshops. I love finding new ways to support student learning with engaging experiences. I hold a masters degree in education in addition to my nursing and humanities degrees.

Kay Darlington

Kay Darlington

Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology

BS – Biology Graduate School – cell physiology, secondary teaching credential in biology Science Research – NASA and Harvard Medical School. At 61 years of age, I took my work in a new direction by attending Port Townsend School of Massage. After graduating, I started a private massage practice and continued my education by becoming certified in orthopedic treatment massage and MFR. After a couple years of private practice, I was invited by the school to teach Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology. This was a subject completely in my wheel house so I enthusiastically agreed. That was in 2005 and I still continue my practice and teaching today. Teaching at PTSM has been special. The students come from different backgrounds, are of different ages, and come to it from different life experiences. One commonality, however, they seem to share is a passion to want to help and to make a difference through this profession. When we share these differences and commonality in the classroom, it makes for a rich learning environment. I continue to learn not only from my students but also from my fellow instructors. I continue to grow as an instructor and a human being and hope that I can play some small part in the growth of my students as massage therapists.

Alexis Vaughn

Alexis Vaughan

Deep Tissue, Hydrotherapy & Sports Massage

I attended the BodyMind Academy in Bellevue Washington in 2003. I practice a therapeutic style of massage that incorporates deep tissue, myofascial release, hot stones and gua sha. What tools I use in massage depends on what the client needs. I love being at PTSM because the students are so enthusiastic about learning to be the best therapists they can. Lizzz is very supportive of both students and staff, making sure that both have what they need to be successful. In addition to being a Massage Therapist, I’m an avid athlete, TRX instructor, personal trainer and 200 hour trained yoga instructor (finishing my 500 hours next year) as well as a Functional Nutrition and Health Coach.

Harmony Pinette

Harmony Pinette

Office Guru

I started my massage education at Port Townsend School of Massage in 1999. My first day of class fell on my 43rd birthday. Such a great gift it turned out to be! I had wanted to do massage for many years and didn’t think I could learn the anatomy part, but after 8 years of desire, I was walking past the school one day, and they were having an open house, so I went in and asked some questions and came out enrolled in the program. It was the best career move I ever made. It changed my life. After graduating I hit the ground running. I rented office space, and after the Port Townsend Paper Mill called to ask me some questions about how I thought a massage might help them in reducing sprain and strain injuries, I worked there as well, doing on-site chair massages for their employees, which helped prevent and reduce injuries. Their L & I injury claims went down to two percent, a significantly lower number than prior to when I began. I started teaching on-site and Swedish massage in conjunction with all of this, at PTSM. I kept my office and a thriving practice for 20 years and continue to keep my license and insurance up to date while working at the school. I continue to be involved with and support the school after all these years!

Desha Wood

Desha Wood

Business Instructor

I recently realized that I don’t love ‘teaching’, what I love is facilitating knowledge expansion. As an instructor at PTSM I get the opportunity to foster a learning environment that expands knowledge. I enjoy watching my students pushing their boundaries of thought, of established bias, of social participation comfort and of fear based paradigms – we all have them. Business is typically a boring subject for those not pursuing a business degree, but my goal is that PTSM students graduate feeling like the business classes were their favorite experience (I know, lofty goals!). My instructor model focuses on action – no reading textbooks in my classroom! I tell my students, let’s do the work now, instead of talking about you needing to do the work outside of class. My favorite thing about my experiences here have been the side bar convos that come up in class discussions from mine or my students’ passions. No two classes of mine have ever been the same and I look forward to expanding our knowledge together.

Brianna Noch

Brianna Noach

Eastern Elements

I am very grateful to have been part of the teaching team of the Port Townsend School of Massage since 2004. I appreciate this school’s warm and supportive atmosphere towards both students and faculty, and the team feeling there is amongst the faculty. This creates a great learning environment for the students. There are a lot of talented, experienced faculty here, not always found to this extent at massage schools, and I am honored to teach alongside them. I have a broad educational background which I bring to the classes I teach or have taught. I hold two masters’ degrees, one in social work and the other in acupuncture, as well as certification in massage therapy and in various self-care practices. One of my great passions is Chinese Medicine, the theory and the practice; this is what I have mostly taught about at this school. I also taught various courses (ethics and professionalism, communication skills, movement therapies, chair massage, shiatsu, body-mind massage, student clinic) at two other massage schools: Peninsula College in Port Angeles (1995-2011) and Bellevue Massage School (1998-2008). Currently I have an eclectic practice in Port Angeles, offering acupuncture, massage therapy, imagery work, and self-care practices to my clients and patients.

Jennifer Williams

Jen Williams

Kinesiology

Jen Williams is a 2014 graduate of Port Townsend School of Massage (PTSM). Since graduating she has been practicing in Sequim, WA and has been an instructor at PTSM starting in 2017. She has continued to learn ways to help her clients with back and neck tensions and find relief from daily life stressors and postural concerns. In her spare time Jen enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Sophia Petricola

Sophia Petricola

Administrative

What an honor to be here with you! I graduated in 2018, and have since had the privilege of teaching with this PTSM community since 2020. I specialize in traditional Thai Massage (trained at the Naga Center), and run my private practice here in Port Townsend. I am passionate about learning skills that will keep my body/mind/spirt resilient and at ease. And I am equally motived to teach these same techniques that have helped me. Along with teaching massage, I am a certified yoga instructor, wilderness therapy mentor, and an instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School. I am committed to making curriculum accessible, and to supporting each student’s particular needs, strengths, and curiosities. I am so excited to get to join you for part of your journey!

Mary Lakes

Mary Lakes

Table Thai and Asian Studies

In 1997 Mary Lakes intended to take one Shiatsu class to round out the training she began with her mentor and friend Richard. Instead of one class she ended up “in school” for ten years first as a student, then assistant and finally on staff at Big Sky Somatic Institute (Helena, Montana) Asian Healing Art Program. She had a twenty-year Asian Arts private practice in a small Montana town about the size of Port Townsend. Her office suite-mate, Judy, who grew up in Silverdale and graduated from PTSM told her for years she should go check out PTSM to see if there were any openings for the Continuing Education classes she was certified to teach. Mary finally made the teaching connection in the spring of 2018 and totally fell in love with the school and the town during her three-day stay teaching an Into to Thai Massage CE workshop. She retired from her practice six months later and moved to Port Townsend to be close… but not too close… to her two sons, their wives, and her two precious granddaughters. Mary is thrilled to now be a part of the PTSM crew.

Pam Adams

Pam Adams

Doctor of Chiropractic Ethics Instructor

Dr. Pam Adams is a Doctor of Chiropractic licensed in California and Washington currently on hiatus. She practiced in California for 15 years before turning to teaching full-time at her alma mater, Life Chiropractic College West. She taught a variety of courses including Palpation, Spinal Adjusting, Geriatrics, and Clinical Nutrition as well as business and marketing courses. In 2011, she moved to Port Townsend where she was fortunate to apply for a faculty position at the Port Townsend School of Massage. Since then, she has had the opportunity to teach both Weekend and Weekday Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology classes as well as Professional Ethics. She loves teaching adults who have chosen a career in health and healing. She has served on the Port Townsend City Council as one of seven Council Members working to help her community thrive in every way. She lives in North Beach, Port Townsend, with her husband Mike and spaniel Cooper.

Cathy Formusa

Cathy Formusa

Swedish Massage

"If you don't take care of your body, where are you going to live?" Hi there, I'm Cathy. I've been enjoying my full time practice and making muscles smile since 1990 and well over 42 thousand massages ago. I am proud of myself for taking the jump and becoming a Licensed Massage Therapist. My journey was difficult as a student. An instructor of mine saw my struggle, he recognized himself in my path and pulled me aside. He taught me a few tricks that he learned that helped him and so I learned how to learn in my own way. I went from a failing student contemplating dropping out to graduating with honors and receiving top scores during my state exams. As an instructor here at PTSM, I'm paying it forward. I look forward to discovering your hidden natural talents along with you and encouraging you. The entire PTSM program is set up for your success. Follow its direction and you will soar. After you graduate, the fun continues in your continuing education hours awaiting you all around the world. Perhaps we'll take the same course together? Welcome to your new family, where it takes all kinds to heal all kinds. See you in class!

Elizabeth Piglowski

Elizabeth Piglowski

PTSM Owner

My first job when I moved to Port Townsend was working as office assistant, with the then Director/Owner, Fairin Woods. Back then, I had no idea what massage could do (other than be a nice luxury), but I loved supporting academia, so it was a wonderful position to be in. As I got to know the staff, students and general culture and education around massage therapy, I absolutely fell in love with it. I was impressed at how everyone genuinely cared about each other, and supported each other's success. I was amazed at the very real assistance massage gave to so many in getting out of pain and moving more freely. My eyes were opened wide to the tangible results knowledgeable, intelligent, compassionate touch could bring. Though I left my office job after graduating from PTSM in 2002 to pursue a successful career in massage therapy, I stayed connected with the school, and returned a few years later to become an instructor. I had an amazing opportunity to see the classroom from the other side of the table, so to speak. I appreciated my own transformation as a result of my education, now I got to witness students learn and grow to become their own success, on their own terms. Every single day I interact with students and staff, I fall in love all over again with the potential that a career in massage therapy can bring. I am so grateful for all those that supported (and continue to support) me on this incredible journey. If they were not there to do what they did for me then, I would not be here now to do what I can do to help others seeking independence through a career in massage therapy.

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Beyond what I could ever have anticipated...

I was pretty new to the role of massage in healthcare when I enrolled in PTSM. My first experience with massage was a few years ago when I needed to seek out various forms of care to help me heal after a car collision. I’m a patient care professional working in healthcare for many years and became interested in learning massage when I personally experienced the enhanced healing, recovery, and wellness benefits of an integrated healthcare approach.  "We need folks who will let us try on new ways of being without judging us." - Brene Brown This is what I experienced and received as a student at PTSM. There are some parts of massage therapy that are similar to my patient care experiences and some parts of massage therapy that are very different from the patient care I am used to. Beyond what I could have ever anticipated when I first enrolled, the staff and my classmates at PTSM encouraged and graciously supported my development while honoring my individuality. I was in the weekend program. I can honestly say that each class weekend was a more brilliant experience than the class weekend before. Connecting with fellow learners in a safe, supportive space guided by caring and helpful staff became a treasured experience that I miss since graduating. The personal and professional growth and development PTSM facilitated for me has changed my life. PTSM is a wonderful community that I’m extremely grateful to be part of.

Kimberly B.
Graduate

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Gratifying employment all these years.

I’ve always been driven to seek opportunities for meaningful employment by which the investments of my time and energy may best serve the comprehensive needs of others; while in turn igniting my personal growth and professional development. Creativity and compassion are intuitively woven into my perspective when it comes to being in and connecting with the world around me. It has been my absolute pleasure over the years to have found opportunities in which my personal services yield support and bring smiles and laughter to those in my community. Being able to work from a more independent standpoint has welcomed the nuances of my personal flare, wit, and skill sets into these relationships. Looking back at my life’s work thus far, I can say I unintentionally found a self-made career in personal service and feel blessed to have kept such gratifying employment all these years.

Mackenzie K.
Graduate

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This is a good place to study and grow.

I am enjoying the education provided by Port Townsend School of Massage and am now half- way through the course work and practicums. My goal is to improve the non- pharmacologic options for my clients and to assure that they receive updated and effective massage therapy in addition to other care I am able to provide as an experienced nurse practitioner. I am learning a lot about massage and its effectiveness for different clinical conditions as well as for stress management and relaxation. I enjoy practicing massage skills with the other students and my own panel of practice clients and I really enjoy receiving massage now when I can. All the instructors here are experienced massage practitioners and they know how to teach so this is a good place to study and grow.

Howard W.
Graduate

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