The Institute of Advanced Bodywork and Movement

Due to the depth of training required to work at MSK Specialists, we decided to turn our clinic into a training facility called The Institute of Advanced Bodywork and Movement (IABM).  Our school is a certified massage school in the state of New Mexico.  This license is transferable to other states.  However, this is not your ordinary massage school.  We spend only a short time on the traditional therapeutic massage that is done in a spa.  The rest of the time is spent taking on the many other modalities of cutting edge manual therapy and exercise.  This basic program is 838 hours long and is taught over 12 months.  Completion of the program allows the student to take the national massage board, receive a license as a massage therapist and get to work. 

All of the most advanced manual therapy techniques are within the scope of practice of the massage therapist.  We do not teach or do chiropractic type adjustments.  We have other techniques to accomplish these joint alignments.  The year long program sets you up for a mentored year work in the MSK clinic.  Due to the depth of knowledge and skills required in this field, it is expected that the students will remain with MSK Specialists for at least one year of mentorship.     This post school mentorship is well paid work.  We try our best to get all of our employees a living wage as soon as possible.  


We do not typically train people without a clear path forward to employment.  Our goal is to hire trainees and keep them in-house upon licensure, although employment is not guaranteed.  

Due to the new information in the evolving field of fascia science and therapeutic exercise, we do not require any prior experience to join the program.  However, this program is a lot of work and study.   We are highly selective of who joins the program to ensure success and hopefully employment with MSK Specialists.   All students must have High School Diploma or equivalent and must be 18 before the programs end.  

After licensure as a massage therapist and employment at our clinic:

To receive a Musculoskeletal Specialists Certification, the student must complete the 4 hour oral and practical examination.  Most IABM students will need at least a year of additional clinical practice and study to pass the MSK Specialist exam.  Our basic educational program prepares the student for success in the clinic and intellectually prepares them for the study of the most modern concepts.  You do not need to complete the MSK certification to work in our clinic.  Our trainees are exceptional bodyworkers, there is plenty of work for everyone.  Being a MSK Specialists increases your opportunities with our clinic such as mentoring, teaching CEUs, and more pay.  

To receive a Medical Massage Certification the student must have passed the entire IABM program with an 80% or better, passed the National Massage Board, and be on track towards the MSK Certification.


We are primarily a healthcare clinic.  We will only run a school program if we need practitioners.  Our last cohort had 7 students.  Our drop out rate is zero, 100% of the students passed the massage board, 100% of our students are employed as bodywork and exercise therapists at MSK Specialists.    

THE IABM Massage Therapy Training Program 

Total Program Hours is 838  completed in one year


Recommended Prerequisites:  

A recommended prerequisite of this program is an introduction to medical terminology.  If medical terms are not familiar to the aspiring student, then the workbook Medical Terminology: A Short Course should be completed prior to the beginning of the program.  IABM also recommends completion of the Trail Guide to the Body Workbook for a rudimentary introduction to the muscles of the body.  Students are not expected to memorize these muscles, but a familiarization of muscle anatomy will increase the student’s chance at success throughout the program.   


Course Description

Therapeutic Massage (152 hours) 

76 class room hours and 76 hours contact hours practicing manual therapy techniques. Classroom instruction will be multimodal with lecture accompanied with video, PowerPoint, palpation, and interactive learning.  The hands-on portion of this course is student practice on other students within the cohort.  All students must be willing to receive bodywork as part of this program.  


Advanced Body Work (160 hours)

80 hours is lecture and 80 hours is hands on.   

Advanced Body Work prepared the student to assess and treat the source of pain in the body.  This course includes basic physiology of the connective tissue and fascial system, muscles, the musculoskeletal nervous system and and the brain, causes of musculoskeletal dysfunction, trigger/tender points, Chapman reflex points, inflammation and pain, and introductions to modern neuromuscular techniques.  Hands-on modalities are practiced that relate to each of the above subjects.  After the general information is complete, Advanced Body Work will cover specific body regions and treatment of those regions.  These regions include the cervical region, the cranium, shoulder, arm and hand, the thorax, lumbar spine, the pelvis, the hip, the knee, the leg and the foot.  Each region will be discussed in detail and techniques for treating these regions will be applied in class.  Techniques learned in this class includes muscle energy techniques, passive and active stretching, advanced soft tissue techniques, joint mobilization, positional release, and joint centration for postural correction.  We will look and linking the muscular system together through fascial anatomy and Chinese senew channels and learn myofascial techniques to work the muscles as systems.   

Assessing and correcting breathing disorders, pelvic floor, diaphragm alignment, and visceral manipulation are also touched on in Advanced Body Work, although further study after this program will be required to become expert at treating these disorders.  


Anatomy (68 Hours)

This course covers the structure of the musculoskeletal system and cover basic medical terminology associated with anatomy and practical use of the language.  This course will cover muscles and locations, how those muscles move the body, and palpating them on the body.  We will also learn the skeletal system and how each bone interacts with the next. The muscle systems taught in basic anatomy will be covered multiple times throughout the program in other classes to ensure enough repetition has occurred for the student’s assimilation of the information.  

Physiology (48 Hours) 

Physiology covers the anatomic structure and function of the organ systems of the human body including the nervous, immune, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, auditory and visual, urinary, the endocrine system, and energy transformation.  We will study how these systems function and interact with the environment, such as the foods we eat and the world around us.  During this class we will study genetics, epigenetics, and the history of disease upon the organ systems.  This class not only teaches the organs and functions, but why explains why each is important how they interrelate with each other.   Doctor Taylor DiMarino, DN will be teaching a healing with nutrition component during this course.   


Pathology (44 hours) 

Pathology is study of disease of the human body.  This course will cover common spinal and joint pathology in detail.  Also covered, are common disease of the organ systems, with a special focus on skin diseases that the massage therapist may see in practice and should become very familiar for safety of both the therapist and clients.  Proper understanding of medical terminology is essential for communicating pathology with clients and heath care professionals.  Medical terms will be emphasized in the course.   

Kinesiology (60 hours) 

Kinesiology is a study of movement of the human body.  This class will take the student through the movement of the skeletal system from head to toe.  This class will cover the movement and postural patterns of all ages of humans, from infant to elderly. We will learn to perform a gait analysis, postural reading, recognize and correct muscle imbalances, joint centration, functional movement, and correct dysfunctional movement patterns.  Kinesiology will take the student through the study of sport movement from swinging, to run and jumping, weight lifting, contact sports, yoga, and various dance.  Proper movement is just as important for a client’s wellbeing as the hands-on techniques we will learn in other classes.  Verbal communication of proper movement to your client is a critical skill for success.  This class will teach the student how to clearly communicate movement techniques effectively.    Students will be asked to participate in the movement exercises to feel the joint alignments and fascial slings within their own bodies.  Kinesiology is a highly participatory class where each student will be taken through the process of deep lumbar core stabilization through breath and intraabdominal pressure, then hip and scapula stabilization integrated into the body through proper joint alignment and movement. This process will help physically prepare the student for the work in bodywork and movement.    

Business (24 hours) 

This class will cover the basics of what the student needs to be successful in their own business of massage therapy.  This class will cover billing techniques for motor vehicle accidents, Worker’s Compensation, medical insurance billing, and Department of Labor billing. 

We will cover the ins-and-outs of running a massage therapy clinic from advertising, client communications, basic tax rules for independent contractors and employees. 

Ethics (32 hours)

Ethics prepares the student to navigate the professional environment with stratisies that include setting professional boundaries, proper interview techniques, communications (verbal and nonverbal), recognizing when emotional trauma is presenting in the physical body, when a client is to be referred out of your office to the proper qualified health care professional.   

Hydrotherapy (12 Hours)

Hydrotherapy clinical applications of heat and cold to the client.  This course covers safety and techniques for hydrotherapy.  Including ice massage contrast massage methods, ice immersion, safety precautions of using cold.  Included are the effects of heat on the body and contraindications were thermal therapy.  


First Aid and CPR: (8 hours, Offsite Instructor)


Basic Oriental Medicine (28 hours)  

Traditional Oriental Medicine is a style medicine based on more than 2,500 years of medical practice that includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, and exercise.  This class covers the basics of Oriental Medicine including basic theory, sinuous lines, acupressure, Qi Gong, energetic theory, and an introduction to shiatsu. 

Orthopedic Assessments (40 hours)

Orthopedic Assessments is designed to teach the student how to assess function and dysfunction of the joints of the human body.  We will assess the foot, ankle, knee, hip, spine, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and the hand.  The key outcome of this class is to teach the student when a dysfunctional joint is treatable within their scope of practice and when that client should be referred to a healthcare professional qualified to treat the client’s dysfunction. 

Senior Review (20 hours) 

Senior Review is a general recap of the IABM LMT program.  We realizes the complexity and challenge of the LMT program.  The students will have the opportunity to ask any permanent  instructor to repeat any coursework completed to date.  Spending many hours shadowing in the clinic during this program is highly recommended for success.  

Clinical Practicum (150 hours) 

This is the opportunity for students to apply what is learned in the classroom with their own clients in a safe and supervised atmosphere.  A clinical supervisor will always be available to the students during these sessions.  The student will be given an entrance exam by two different IABM instructors prior to admittance into the clinic.  The clinical entrance exam is an oral and practical exam that will demonstrate the student’s knowledge and ability to give a safe effective bodywork. 

Tentative start dates and time for 2022 IABM Class

January 10, 2022-Dec 23, 2022

The student is expected to complete all of the following hours during the 2022 session:

  • 3 four hour long classes per week (class days and time will be determined)

  • 7 five hour long Saturday MSK group classes (this is a large group class that involves the entire MSK Staff and other practitioners invited from Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  This group contains DOMs, LMTs, Pts, Naprapaths, and Chiropractors

  • 150 hours of clinic practice

  • 12 hours of Business office shadowing

  • 6 hours of shadowing the Doctor of Oriental Medicine Instructor

  • 42 hours of one-on-one in clinic shadowing, guided study/instruction/practice with instructor Erin Hemphill or Steven DiMarino.  


 2022 IABM Schedule

Class is in Session Jan 10-Feb 17  

           Class Break Feb 18-Feb 26

Class in Session Feb 27-Apr 7 

            Class Break  Apr 8-Apr 16

Class in Session Apr 17-May 26

          Class Break May 27-June 4

Class in Session  June 5-July 14

        Class Break July 15-July 23

Class in Session July 24-Sept 1

         Class Break Sept 2-Sept 10

Class in Session Sept 11-Oct 20

        Class Break  Oct 21-Oct 29

Class in Session Oct 31-Nov 22 (Nov 21 and 22 will be class)

       Class Break Nov 23-Nov 27

Class in Session Nov 28-Dec 23 (Merry Christmas. Class is over, you did it!)

IABM Costs

Total Cost of the program is $12,500

Students are asked to pay $3000 prior to class start (this is refundable within the first 2 weeks of the program)

Students are asked to pay $250 dollars per month while school is in session

The remaining $6750 can be paid after completion of the program.  However, this amount will have interest.  We will provide a detail financial document at your second interview.  

Post Employment at MSK Specialists

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Specialist Certification Qualifications


Any Musculoskeletal Specialists in our clinic has the following qualifications:

  • Is current licensed bodyworker in the state of New Mexico

  • Completed at least 250 hours of classroom training with supervised hands on training.  Also, interned at a Musculoskeletal Specialists Clinic under supervision for an additional 150 hours which included both manual therapy and exercise.  This is a minimum of 400 hours of specialized training at the clinic. The expectation is that the therapist has spent at least an additional 400 hours of self-study in the field of Advanced Bodywork and Movement.   

  • All required training is incorporated in the IABM basic program. 

  • It is preferred to have completed the Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization Exercise Trainer Certification from the Rehabilitation School Prague, Czechoslovakia.  This program takes a minimum of one year to complete and requires travel, usually within the US.

  • Certified through a 4-hour oral and practical examination from the Musculoskeletal Specialists Clinic given by at least two instructors

  • Understands the most current theories of human living fascia, which includes theoretical knowledge of and manual therapy techniques to optimize treatments based on the following:  Fluid dynamics, piezoelectric effect, myofascial release with movement, fascial contractility controlled by sympathetic nervous system, preloading of fascia prior to movement, elasticity and plasticity of fascia, scar tissue effects and release

  • Understands muscle contractile relationships to mechanoreceptors and the brain.  Techniques are optimized to release adhesions and communicate to mechanoreceptors to obtain a neurological release of musculature and balance uncentered pull on joint, trigger point release, and open venous/neural transmission

  • Skilled in modern neuromuscular techniques according to Osteopathic Medicine.  This includes Muscle Energy Techniques, Positional Release, and muscle activation

  • Understands joint range of motion (active and passive) and uses articular techniques to improve range of motion of joints and leaving the joint balanced.

  • Is skilled in exercises that activate musculature to center joints and stabilize to the core.

  • Skilled in one-on-one exercise communication and group exercise communication

  • Is skilled in manual therapy and exercise to optimize the three layers of the spinal stabilization: the vertebrae and discs, the ligamentous and musculature stability system of the spine, and the lumbar core stability system based on eccentric load of intra-abdominal pressure

  • Understands the tensegrity of all joints in the body and can relate stability of movements to fixation points and posture

  • Understands the role of viscera in stabilization and living fascia's impact on viscera. 

  • Skilled in releasing viscera that has a failure to glide

  • Understands Breathing Pattern Disorders and is skilled in manual therapy and exercises to retrain proper abdominal breathing

  • Understand how to apply manual therapy to spinal nerve root disorders such as herniated discs and apply therapeutic exercise to relieve nerve root pain

  • Skilled in orthopedic testing and assessments of joint disorders. 

  • Skilled in reading radiology reports; educated in musculoskeletal pathology and medical terminology 

  • Understands the modern-day theories of psycho-emotional/somatic response in body tissues

  • Is trained to work with other licensed practitioners in the healthcare field and can communicate with all levels of healthcare workers to optimize total patient care

  • Is trained to recognized when to refer a client to the appropriate health care worker  

  • Understands postural assessments and performs bodywork and exercise to correct posture 

  • Understands the fundamentals of the physics of the musculoskeletal/visceral system, fascial connections, and neural/venous pathways, and is intellectually prepared for continuous learning in the field of Advanced Bodywork and Movement  



If you are a Massage Therapist consider taking our CEU classes to improve your skills.  Email us at  We do a class in Los Alamos every 6 weeks.  

We are not currently teaching courses outside of Los Alamos


Our classes are fast paced classes loaded with information.  Most include from 20-30 techniques that you can add to your practice tomorrow.  We also give you a book with pictures to help you remember them all.  All classes will begin with an anatomy lecture and an explanation of why things work, then we do the -many- techniques.  You may bring your cameras to record the techniques so you have a video record as well.  

Here are the list of classes coming up:

  • Understanding and correcting Breathing Pattern Disorders (two sessions, 12 hours total)

    • ​Wearing a mask all day can lead to a breathing pattern disorder​​, chemically induced anxiety, neck and shoulder pain, as well as destabilizes the core to cause back and hip pain.  Learn how to reverse this cascade of problems.   

  • Easing Headaches (Neck, Eye and TMJ treatment) (Two Sessions, 12 hours total)

  • Using Muscle Energy Techniques in your Practice (6 Hours)

  • Adding Corrective Exercise to your practice (just the stuff that works) (6 hours)

  • Bringing the Pelvic Floor back online

    • We highly recommend the Breathing Pattern Disorder Class before this one (Two sessions, 12 Hours)

  • Fascia Basics.  Mostly lecture, but we teach some game changer manual therapy techniques to address the fluid system and the nerves within the superficial fascia that is new for most LMT's.  We explain the newest science of fascia living under the skin, we teach how to adapt the science into your practice and save your hands from overworking (6 hours)​.  

  • The Osteopathic approach to lymphatic techniques.  This is mostly right out of the osteopathic textbook with some of our own tricks to speed up the work.  Clearing the dams, opening the pumps, then moving the lymph made simple and effective.  This is not the slow lymphatic techniques you may have learned in massage school, it will be new stuff for most LMT's.(6-8 hours)