A State by State Massage Therapist Licensure Guide

Massage Therapy School in Denver, Colorado

Denver massage therapists can pursue different tracks, including clinical/ medical work and spa service. The city is big on therapeutic bodywork and also big on access. People here recognize that massage practices are not just places for the well-off to relax and recharge. They’re also places for people who struggle to manage symptoms related to very serious conditions.

An early 2019 search reveals that many organizations in the Denver/ Aurora area are advertising for massage therapists. Among them are chiropractic and pain management offices, massage franchises, and day spas. One will also find other therapy-centered organizations searching for their ideal massage professional. Among them: a child and family therapy center looking for a pediatric massage therapist.

Massage therapy is among the complementary and integrative demonstration services offered under the Spinal Cord Injury Waiver. Denver Health First patients who have spinal cord injuries can receive the service when it is recommended by a provider and authorized by a case manager. A 2019 article on Denver's Mile High Magazine features the woman who was instrumental in creating that legislation (https://www.5280.com/2019/01/a-denver-champion-for-people-with-disabilities-advocates-for-outside-the-box-treatments/); she herself has been quadriplegic since age nine. She is now working toward seeing the service extended to people with other conditions like cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. She credits the combination of integrative therapies she began as a young woman with bringing her back from a deteriorating state of health.

Massage and other integrative therapies can be healthcare for a wide range of people, not just those with disabilities or life altering illness. Rose Medical Center showed they appreciate that by making the therapy more accessible to nurses and other staff members who need to recharge; their new wellness clinic made the 2019 news (https://www.5280.com/2019/02/rose-medical-center-is-showing-its-staff-some-extra-love/). An employee wellness lounge is also in place at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center (http://www.progressivehealthcenter.org/employee-wellness-lounge/).

Some Denver and Aurora massage therapists have established strong relationships with healthcare providers. They have also established relationships with insurance companies that allow them to act as providers for their discount complementary health services network.

Medical massage for auto- or work-related injuries may be compensated through other programs.

Massage Schools in the Denver Metropolitan Area

The Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado boasts a 900-hour COMTA accredited program that includes more than 100 hours each of Swedish, deep tissue massage, and neuromuscular therapy. Reflexology, acupressure, and myofascial techniques comprise shorter training blocks. The program provides a well-rounded education that even includes a short course in yoga for self-care. Graduates can opt for a very part-time 504-hour advanced training course after meeting requirements for initial licensure. Those who do so deepen their knowledge of Asian modalities and myofascial techniques.

The Colorado School of Healing Arts in Lakewood is also COMTA-accredited. The curriculum is 720 hours. It is designed to provide a strong foundation in Swedish and neuromuscular techniques as well as deep tissue work. Currently, all students take sports massage. They have a choice of electives (for example, infant massage, seated massage, or polarity).

The Denver Integrative Massage School has a 600-hour program; it includes 250 hours of combined anatomy, physiology, pathology, and kinesiology. Students of the Integrative Massage School are introduced to a range of Eastern and Western techniques, though the number of combined hours is less than in some programs. Among the highlights: Thai Yoga massage.

The Cortiva Institute has two campuses in the greater Denver metropolitan area: Aurora and Westminster. Both programs are ACCET-accredited and comprise 750 hours; both hold school membership in the American Massage Therapy Association.

About Denver Spas

Denver has ample spas to appeal to the vacation and staycation crowds – and to professionals who enjoy working in a spa environment! Massage is among the main draws for some spas; they boast a menu of relaxation massages that can be enjoyed on their own or as part of a spa package. In other settings, massage is an added comfort for those who have come to enjoy other amenities.

Spas may advertise massage treatments that have therapeutic benefits. For example, the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, a luxury hotel, boasts therapeutic offerings such as the “traveler’s relief massage” which is designed to ease an achy body and help with jet lag. Among the other offerings are the Colorado River Stone Massage which puts a local spin on hot stone massage and the Brown Palace signature massage which combines several massage styles with a signature aromatherapy. The hotel boasts spa packages designed to appeal particularly to men, for example, the “gentleman’s healthy back” which combines massage with other treatments.

The 5 Star Salt Cave Wellness Center is best known for its halotherapy, but guests can also find healing through energy and breath work, infrared sauna -- and of course Swedish and deep tissue massage.

A New Spirit Wellness Center and Spa offers a range of massage modalities, for example, sports massage, trigger point, warm stone, and cranial sacral therapy. Raindrop therapy includes generous use of aromatherapy oils. The menu includes many add-ons such as hot oil scalp massage. Clients can purchase massage packages. And here, too, one can find salt – in the form of an Epsom salt float tank.

The Luna Massage and Wellness Day Spa boasts multiple modalities including sports massage, hot stone massage, and prenatal massage. Facial reflexology and neck and shoulder massage are considered add-ons. Massage is included as part of a number of spa packages. The organization also provides chair massage at corporate events.

Massage Therapist Salary in Denver and Employment Data

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area has a massage therapy concentration well above the norm. In fact, it ranks 6th out of all metropolitan areas in the nation. If one looks at sheer numbers, it’s number 2.

The median wage is reported as $20.06.

Massage Therapy Continuing Education

Continuing education is available from multiple sources including the big massage schools. Practitioners learn new modalities and deepen their skills in working with particular populations. The Colorado School of Healing Arts, for example, has its own trademarked program for working with populations who have experienced trauma.

Additional Resources

Massage Schools in Colorado

Massage License Requirements Colorado