Stress Reduction Through Bodywork


4 CE Hours


Stress is part of life. All biological organisms, including people, require some stress in order to maintain well-being. However, long-term or chronic stress is particularly damaging if not interrupted with periods of rest, relaxation and nurturance. Improve your ability to communicate how your practice of massage or bodywork helps your clients' stress relief through this home study course.

In this course, you'll discover:

  • what happens in the body/mind during sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activation
  • therapeutic actions likely to activate the sympathetic nervous system and actions likely to activate the parasympathetic nervous system
  • common defense mechanisms
  • appropriate therapeutic actions in relation to probable indications and contraindications for common mental/emotional illnesses
  • reasons why body-centered therapies are contraindicated for people who are intoxicated
  • appropriate ways to respond to clients who dissociate and clients who become emotionally upset
  • how prevalent sexual abuse is in the U.S., and three possible stages in the recovery process
  • therapeutic actions that massage therapists and bodyworkers can provide to help their clients' stress levels
  • recent research findings that support the benefits of massage and bodywork for stress relief

Featured Reviews

This course delves deep, creating an awareness that is generally overlooked or ignored

- Helen Willis-Waltrup, Manchester NH

Very good review of how people deal with stress (appropriate & inappropriate) personally thought provoking.

- Elsie Lintz, CMT

Keen observation and excellent body/mind assessment is the therapists biggest challenge for the therapists who need to develop in this area, this course will aid in building people skill and confidence.

- Dorris Williams

I found the therapeutic actions really helpful.

- Deborah Nugnes NCTMB

This was an excellent course on dealing with my clients emotional needs.

- Debbie Kuhn, CMT Thurmont, Maryland

The information was interesting and applied directly to my massage bodywork.

- J. Distrola, LMT

I appreciated this course and learned a lot of things I can implement in my personal life as well as in my work with clients. I was intrigued by the research noted in regards to massage's effect on stress levels.

- Crystal C. Guengerich, RN, CMT, Baltimore, MD

I enjoyed this course and it is applicable to the general public.

- Christina Ward

Good review of issues that may affect a bodyworker and client.

- Chet Crowley, NCTMB, LMT

Great information, especially the information on therapeutic actions.

- Carol Skolnik, CMT; BodyWise; Silver Spring, MD

A good course to give a more in-depth look about stress and mental/emotional illnesses.

- Ayesha Maginley, LMT, Sandy Springs, GA

This course was very informative, as it gave definitions fro various mental health concerns in easily understandable terms. It also gave the appropriate techniques to use or not to use for each situation. These are helpful guidelines.

- Atricia McCary, Therapeutic Massage, Lincoln, VT

This is an awesome course and easy to understand, thank you!

- Jennifer Magnusson - LMT, Waddell, AZ

It was easy to read and very interesting. It will be a good addition to my practice to know more about how to handle clients with disorders.

- Jennifer Peterson, HHP, San Diego, CA

This course is a well researched summation of stress and the effects of stress that one might meet with in a bodywork practice. Raises awareness and therefore helps to build confidence and professionalism.

- Kathleen Bowman

Very informative; info I can actually use in practice.

- Kelly Morgan,LMT Myrtle Beach,SC

Very good course, well organized, and very useful information.

- Linda Wozniak Vital Signs Massage & Bodywork

Interesting course, very worthwhile.

- Margo McIntyre Boylan - Louisville, KY

Very informative information I can use in my practice. I enjoyed taking this course so much that a I use the pamphlet regularly to brush up on different topics. I was so pleased with what I learned that I have referred other therapist to take the course.

- Marjorie Johnson

This course was well written and appropriately detailed. It was very useful and enjoyable.

- Megan Riggleman, CMT, Massage Envy, Springfield, Va

Great review for everyone!

- Michael Wilson, CMT

Excellent review!

- Miriam Tucker

Lots of information in an easy to follow format.

- Nona Fries, NCTMB, Angels Camp,CA

Great information to know in working with different people everyday.

- Racyne Simpson, LMT Bullhead City, AZ

I found the section on Clients with Mental Illness very interesting. It gave me a new insight, because I primarily deal with physical problems in the medical office I work in.

- Rosemary Heermance, NCTMB, Pacific Oasis Medi-Spa, Lancaster, CA

This course really explained how to deal with mental/emotional illness when it comes to massage. I really enjoyed the course, gave great information.

- Sharon Smith, LMT (Hands on Health)

Every therapist will encounter one or more of these type disorders during his/her practice.

- Sheila Cecil, LMT Burlington, KY

I've enjoyed this course and I learned a lot!

- Tabitha Patterson, Massage Therapist, Murrells Inlet, SC

The material was very well written.

- Tammy Goodroe, Massage Therapist, Virgina Beqach, VA

The course is very easy to understand and it helps put you in a possible situation to prepare you.

- Tracie Sanders RMP

I loved this course!!!! it really was very interesting, positive and helpful in many ways!

- Traci M.Jennings Massage Las Vegas, Nevada

I found this course to be extremely helpful in dealing not only with clients but with family. Thank You! I now feel much more equipped to relate to what others are going through.

- Vickie Byers, NCTMB

The course was very enlightening and was well worth the price.

- Victoria J. Pendley, LMT, NMT Fayette, AL

This course provided vital information on mental and emotional illnesses as well as the effect of stress on the body/mind.

- W. Scott Pollard, LMT Rockville, MD

Very informative in a concise easily understandable text.

- Yvonne I. Messemer LMT, NCTMB

This was a very informative and interesting course!

- Lisa Buck, LMT, NCTMB

I liked the examples and diagram included. They really helped to clarify and understand the materail. The studies at the end were interesting.

- Ieshya Anderson, LMT

This was a good course. I will for surely keep this information handy when working with these types of clients.

- Jamie Duvnjak, NCTMB

Much needed especially in the world in which we live today! Thanks

- Heather Kirchkesner, LMT

This was the best online course I have taken. It was straight to the point and very beneficial. It exceeded my expectations!

- Quneeta Gause, LMT

Love it. It has answered some questions that were relevant to clients and to friends. Thank you

- Debra Overberg, LMT, NCTMB

Well presented material for a difficult topic

- Ginger Grissom Stevens, LMT

I enjoyed this course it will be very helpful in my practice. Thanks!

- Randi Levin Marier, LMT, NCTMB

Very interesting good information.

- Dianne Cagliuso, LMT

This course was a valuable educational tool and information to learn and use with clients.


Loved this course!!!

- Laurie Coleman, LMP

It was great and I have new insight on the condition this course gave me. Thanks!

- David Finley, NCTMB

Enjoyed the information. Very useful.

- Karen Roth, LMT, NCTMB

This course was a happy surprise! It was insigtful and very helpful concerning the focus of the particular subject. I really enjoyed this course.

- Kathryn Bruno, LMT, NCTMB

Very insightful & instructional!! Every Bodyworker should take this course!!

- Robin Waren, LMBT

Because I am interested in this information, it enlightened me and also confirmed what I had already learned - it was good to know I am on the right track with my clients.

- Susan Kralj, LMT

Thanks this helped both me and my professional practice.I enjoyed this course very much.

- Francis Brown, LMP, LMT, NCTMB

Very well put together and easily understood.

- Dagmar Lemich, LMT, NCTMB

This was my first online CEU, and I was very pleased. The information is something that I will use in my everyday life.

- Alenna Hinton, LMT, NCTMB

I found the course to be interesting and practical.

- Rolland Leach, LMBT

This course is great and help me a lot understand clients body and becomes better knowledged therapist

- Marisol Reyes, LMT

I learned a few things that will help me in my practice. This is my first time doing a home study CEU and found it interesting. I am a person who learns hands on better than reading but found this very educational and easy to understand. It kept my attention which can be difficult for me in a book learning environment. Thank-you very much and I will use this course program again

- Dema McKeen, LMP

This course was awesome!! Great insight!!!!

- Roxann Bolton, LMT

Glad I took it. Learned a lot!!

- Janice Thompson, LMT

Excellent presentation of the material. It was clear and concise, easy to follow and provided lots of practical information regarding the practitioner's role in dealing with people of emotional and mental states as well as illness.

- Kerstin Usher, LMT

Great information you can incorporate into your practice.

- Lori Uretsky

It seems more clients are experiencing depression these days. This course will certainly help if and when you are faced with this challenge.

- Robert Foster, LMT

Loved this course and format, enables me to work CEU's with a very busy schedule

- Larry Burke, LMT

This course offered insights into my clients possible behaviors and indicators as well as reminders to myself to make sure I am taking care of myself and my stress levels.

- Meghan Green, LMT

Thank you, the content of this course was very interesting to me. I feel more prepared to handle situations of high stress in my clients and to better understand how stressors play out in our body/mind.

- Alissa Priestley, LMT

This course was helpful because of the high stress level of most clients. Thank you.

- Judith Sparrow, LMT

Your support staff was very helpful in answering all my questions. The course was well presented and very informative. Would recomend to others.

- Jose Echaniz, LMT, NCTMB

This course covers important situations that can present themselves in the massage session. I appreciate focusing on these ideas at length and supporting the therapist's role.

- Kathy Duprey, LMP

The information from the material will be beneficial for my clients as well as for myself

- Amanda Downour, LMT

Made me think about the different situation that might occur.

- Jemima Crossfield, LMT

I enjoyed learning the actual hands on techniques for cleints with mental/emotional disorders. I feel more prepared for these situations in the future.

- Ann Mora Ramos, RMT, LMT, NCTMB

Really liked the program and working with the institute was easy and friendly. I loved all the references at the end. I knew by all the references the program was not only professional in nature but truly researched by highly trained professionals.

- Catherine Friend, LMT

This course was helpful and informative for me as a practitioner. I learned ways to both apply this knowledge to my personal life and my practice. Thanks!

- Nicole Jones, LMT, NCTMB

I enjoyed the course. Very helpful.

- Mary Eure, LMT

I learned some very valuable information from this course. I would highly recommend it for all body workers!!

- Lauren Nogrady, LMT, NCTMB

This course was GREAT!!! I learned so much about recognizing mental/emotional deviations and how to support and refer the clients. In addition, I feel that this course improved and increased my knowledge as a therapist.

- Nora Sasson, LMT

Very informative. Because of this course I'm considering this area of expertise. Thank you for providing this valuable information.

- Monique Gray, LMT, NCTMB

What a great value to obtain knowledge on the usage of a system of assessment in therapeutic action and then re-assessment of each & every client! Thank you very much for sharing!!!

- Lanita Jackson, LMT, NCTMB

I thought the course was well thought out and presented in a manner that made it easy to understand and complete.

- Carolyn A. Causey, LMT, NCTMB

Thank you. I will retain this information easily and apply it in my practice!

- Sabrina Rajkumar, LMT

This was an amazing course. I took a long time reading it because I had to look up a lot of terms and techniques that I was unfamiliar with. I realize that I have a lot more to learn even after 15 years of working as a professional MT. Thank you for this class as continuing education.

- Barbara L. Downing, LMT

Fun an informative. Good format! Thank you!

- Karen R. LaLonde, LMT

It was extremely informative. I learned a lot.

- Jason Knapp, LMT

I found this course to be very interesting and informative. The course material was very easy to understand.

- Tracey Baucom McInnis, LMT

I can surely use this with my practice. I have friends who have migraines and Epilepsy. This will be a great tool and source of knowledge for me.

- Larry Box Jr., LMT

Great and loved the ease of the process! Thank you!

- Lisa Todd, LMT

This course was very informative and helped realizing how or actions as therapists can really affect someone's mental state. I felt this class explained situations more clearly then I have heard before. I've been in practice for over 20 yrs and some of these cases were not touched on this thoroughly. Thank you for the new insight I have.

- Roxanne Grondin

Not only did this course give excellent information, for me it emphasized the importance of knowing how to recognize stress-related behaviors and serve my clients correctly.

- Lucy Corey, LMT, NCTMB

Very helpful that specific procedures were given for the therapist to do under certain circumstances and reactions of clients.

- Geraldine Hall, LMT

I appreciated and noted Sharon Burch's expertise in her three fields as nurse practitioner, massage therapist and educator. As a professional and knowing facts, she dovetails experience and practice with today's harries, stress-filled lives. The reflective exercise, situation to avoid and case presentations were most helpful in again bringing the printed words alive and into the concrete interactions with persons coming to us for understanding and care.

- Betty Jean Haverback

The materials and test were easily readable and it didn't take much time to complete the test and the evaluation.

- Brenda Boone

This course was very knowledgeable and I definitely will be able to use it! Very informative and everyone deals with stress in their life, including me!

- Barbara Young, LMT

The materials were well written and opened up some perspectives I hadn't explored before.

- Mimosa Gordon, LMT

This was an awesome course

- Irene Brooks, LMBP

I found this course to be truly clarifying and easy to understand. The information contained here will be a nice resource to use in my massage and Reiki practice. Thank you for the great courses you continue to offer.

- Margaret Leighton, LMT

I enjoyed this class and website. I will be taking all of my online classes here

- Nick Busin, LMT

Thank you for the Stress Reduction material. I learned more than I thought I would.

- Christal Smith, LMT

Fantastic course.

- Rachel Smith, LMT

I found this course interesting and helpful as well as meeting my CEU needs.

- Monika Messer, LMP

This was a fabulous class!!! I learned so much more on Stress and what to look for and how to help in different areas. I recommend this to EVERYONE. We all have stress and it was a great reminder to take care of self as much as we do others.

- Tara Ryan-Safran, LMT, BCTMB

My father had dementia and I gained new knowledge personally. I feel the material could even delve deeper. It's a very interesting topic I had no idea that "Stress Reduction" was going to be involving all of this, but I thoroughly enjoyed it all and the review from my Blue Cliff College days.

- Mariana Pundsack, LMT

it was very good and informative and fairly easy to learn. I am very satisfied and will continue to take more courses in the very near future. Thanks!

- Donna McGregor, LMT

This course is a great refresher for me. It was explained very well and provided great examples which helped me understand it better. I look forward to taking another class! Thank you!

- Shekina Magbulos, LMT

Concise and to the point. Useful for most people. I spent 15 years as a mental health clinician.

- Richard Scott Wortman, LMT

Surely one of your best home study courses. A genuine pleasure to read. Clear, useful and informative.

- William J. Hout, LMT

This course was of particular interest to me because a family member struggles with mental illness. I occasionally perform massage on her. This course better equips me to give her my very best and be well prepared should a situation arise.

- Belinda Hart, LMT

Love this one. Thank you!

- Christine Roach, LMT


  • Manual - 31 pages
  • Multiple-choice test - if you prefer to complete this program online please select the "Materials: Available online + Test: Available online" option
  • Certificate upon completion - if you prefer to print your certificate at home instantly, please select the online option

Display Certificates suitable for framing are available for $10 in addition to the certificate included with your tuition. Click here to order a Display Certificate.


The Institute is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider. Approved Provider 049478-00.

Credits also accepted by the AMTA, ABMP and NAHA.

For information regarding your specific state massage license requirements and approvals, visit our Massage Therapy Continuing Education Requirements page by clicking here.

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