An Education in Massage Therapy and Life
May 29, 2016 06:56PM
● By Michelle Bense
Founded in 1995, Arizona School of Integrative Studies (ASIS), or ASIS Massage Education, is dedicated to the path of world peace, compassion for all living beings and honesty. ASIS has been training passionate, dedicated and satisfied graduates of its massage therapy program at its now four campuses—including one in Tucson.
ASIS was built from the ground up in Clarkdale, by founders Joseph and Jamie Rongo, with the support of family, staff and community. The family and staff were passionate about the personal growth element of the school, creating a curriculum that focused on each individual’s unique, personal journey, alongside their educational journey. After the success of the Clarkdale campus came three others—Prescott, Flagstaff, then Tucson. Most recently, the Clarkdale campus was moved to Mesa.
“At ASIS, there’s an emphasis on a wide variety of modalities, but also on heightening our sensitivity to the human soul,” says Arin Weiss, Tucson Campus Manager, quoting ASIS’s philosophy. “There is a desire for people to become better human beings. There is a direct correlation between how we view ourselves and how we view others, how we can affect the world in whatever small or large way that we’re able to—it ripples.”
Weiss attended massage therapy school 10 years ago at ASIS Prescott, where she later worked as an administrator, and in various other capacities, for two-and-a-half years. After moving to the Bay area and pursuing a master’s in counseling psychology, Weiss moved to Tucson. Here, she got back in touch with ASIS directors and began her position at the Tucson campus. “It came full-circle,” she says.
“My favorite part is watching someone transform—the transformation that happens between the moment that someone walks through the door to pursue a dream, through the moment that they graduate from the program,” enthuses Weiss. “There’s an emphasis on personal, interpersonal and transpersonal elements of growth, while gaining a vocational training and cultivating skills to support one’s livelihood.”
The ASIS massage therapy program exposes students to a wide variety of modalities through different courses, including: Swedish massage, chiropractic assistant training, neuromuscular therapy, sports massage, craniosacral, connective tissue therapy, shiatsu, hydrotherapy, integrative massage and polarity therapy. “Swedish massage is the longest portion of the program, as it lays the foundation,” explains Weiss. “Post-graduation, students can continue on with specialization in any particular area of interest.”
ASIS offers full- and part-time, accredited programs to become a certified massage therapist. The school assists students with the completion and submission of licensure applications for the Arizona State Board while in the program, and most students become licensed within four to six weeks after graduation. The full-time program lasts 26 weeks—Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. (plus clinic hours)—and part-time lasts 12 months—Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, from 6 to 9:20 p.m., plus most Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
With intimate class sizes, the groups stay together throughout the training period. “We have an interactive learning environment, and classes are often taught in circles, rather than at desks,” explains Weiss. ASIS employs 15 teachers in various specialties, covering a wide range of modalities where they each personally excel.
The chiropractic assistant program is integrated into the main massage therapy program. A second certificate for this course is given at graduation—a great extra leg up when beginning a career in the massage arts.
ASIS provides a student clinic, which offers a cost-effective chance for the public to receive massage. “Clinic is part of class. After Swedish massage, they begin clinics. The public is invited in for discounted massage. Students are exposed to a variety of bodies, personalities and opportunities,” describes Weiss. “The sessions take place in areas divided by screens and curtains, three days a week.”
The school also recently opened a professional clinic, where licensed graduates from the program are working. Weiss calls it a “bridge”—the graduates gain experience working in a setting akin to working in and owning a practice. Massage at the pro clinic takes place in private rooms and is available six days a week. Student clinic massage costs $30, while pro clinic is $45.
All four campuses host various continuing education workshops—opportunities for therapists to complete the 24 CEUs they need every two years in order to renew their licensure with the Arizona State Board. The workshops are open to ASIS graduates and other massage therapists in the community, and a few are also open to the public.
The next full-time program begins August 3, and the next part-time program begins September 13. “The first step of the admissions process is setting up a personal tour with an admissions advisor,” says Weiss. ASIS is approved by the U.S. Department of Education to offer Federal Financial Aid to all qualifying students. She encourages those interested in a new career to contact ASIS Massage Education and apply now.
Michelle Bense is a freelance editor and writer for Natural Awakenings. Connect with her at [email protected].