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A Mayo Clinic medical massage therapist with a patient

Student experiences

The Hospital-Based Massage Therapy Course prepares you for professional practice in hospital-based massage therapy. The curriculum is taught using various instruction modalities, including an online learning management system, hands-on participation, and a hands-on shadowing experience in the Mayo Clinic hospital setting.

This course does not cover operationalizing a Hospital-Based Massage Therapy program.

The curriculum includes:

  • Chart navigation
  • Medical documentation
  • Pathopharmacology
  • Wounds, lines, incisions
  • Treatment planning
  • Patient/therapist ergonomics
  • Hospital equipment
  • Oncology massage
  • Therapeutic relationships
  • Interprofessional communications
  • Scope of practice
  • Preventing burnout

Classroom learning

The first module is in an online learning environment. It must be completed by course participants before coming on-site. Competency will be measured using an online test. Participants will have one attempt to score a passing grade of 70% before coming on-site.

This module includes an introduction to the world of integrative medicine in the health care setting, an introduction to the hospital environment, and content on medical terminology, medical documentation, and pathopharmacology. It's estimated that this module will take approximately eight to 10 hours a week for four weeks to complete depending on your pace.

Experiential learning and internship

The second module is a 40-hour intensive in-person learning experience held for one week (Monday through Friday) at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. Taught by Mayo Clinic staff with expertise in integrative medicine, this module focuses on the science of massage in a medical setting and tools for integrating massage into a medical setting.

The course format is a unique experiential learning opportunity to optimize the educational experience learned in the online module and includes 20-hours of hands-on shadowing under the supervision of certified Mayo Clinic massage therapy staff.

Upon conclusion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Translate the massage therapist's role as part of the integrative health care team into an acute care setting
  • Incorporate knowledge and skills of integrative health practices utilized by massage therapists in an acute care setting
  • Integrate the practical skills needed for the massage profession into a medical setting and apply them in an appropriate, safe, effective, and compassionate manner with patients and health care staff
  • Describe the role and professional boundaries of a massage therapist in the health care environment
  • Demonstrate proper body mechanics and communication skills while providing massage therapy to patients
  • Apply hospital-based policies relating to safety and infection control

Facilities and faculty

Learn more about the facilities and faculty for the Hospital-Based Massage Therapy Course.


Since 2002, Mayo Clinic has been a leader in integrating massage therapy into the hospital experience. Mayo researchers have performed multiple studies proving the safety and benefit of massage therapy for many different types of surgeries and procedures.

Each year, medical professionals at Mayo Clinic provide inpatient and outpatient massage to thousands of people dealing with problems ranging from a cancer diagnosis to a sports injury. Mayo Clinic's Integrative Medicine and Health program combines conventional medicine with integrative medicine to promote physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Doctors and board-certified massage therapists at Mayo Clinic work together to coordinate a massage therapy treatment plan for an injury or condition as part of patients' care plans.

As a student in this program, you will conduct classroom simulation off-campus at Assisi Heights Spirituality Center and in the patient rooms at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus and Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Methodist Campus.


The Hospital-Based Massage Therapy Course is coordinated and taught by the clinical, scientific, and technical staffs of Mayo Clinic. Faculty members are chosen for their commitment to teaching, as well as clinical practice and research. Faculty have published and lectured extensively and are highly regarded in their fields.

During the course, you have the opportunity to learn from experienced hospital-based massage therapists.

Hours and schedule

During module 1, the online component of the course, you will be required to log into the classroom multiple times each week. It is estimated you will spend approximately 10 hours each week completing the assignments. Assignments may have specific items due throughout the week.

During module 2, the in-person component of the course, your learning schedule will be Monday through Friday, eight hours a day for one week. Start times each day will vary between 7:15-8 a.m. and end between 4:30-5 p.m.

Grading and evaluation 

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences uses these evaluative tools: examinations, demonstration of skills, self-assessment exercises, and faculty reviews.

Our system of evaluation provides students and faculty with a comprehensive look at individual performance. This allows faculty and administrative staff to direct students who are experiencing academic difficulty to the appropriate support resources, including tutoring programs and counseling opportunities.

Course completion

After successfully completing this course, you will receive a certificate of completion from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and four associate level college credits from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. You must complete both the online module and the in-person module in the same cohort to successfully complete the course.