Smith will still conduct his therapeutic massage practice at his office at 3045 Aerotech Parkway, but two rooms have been converted for teaching purposes. He said he’d like to buy the store next door to have even more space.
Classes will start on Sept. 7, and only a few students will be accepted for the six-month, 500-hour course.
Smith said that massage classes at the technical college in Delta or a private college in Grand Junction take a lot more time because class work goes beyond the basics, either in the direction of spa massage or medical massage. But Smith, who specializes in medical massage, plans to concentrate on just the basics of massage, leaving it up to the student to either establish work right away or move on a more defined career path.
According to Smith, after completing course work, students take a national test and then register as a massage therapist with the state.
“I’m teaching them the basics, and then they can go in whatever direction they want, whether it’s a spa or a chiropractor,” he said.
Smith, who has practiced massage therapy for many years, said he had to jump through a lot of hoops with the state to open the school, and he’s already put more than a year’s work into it.
“The reason I opened is that people were asking why there wasn’t a massage school in Montrose, and I decided there was a big enough demand,” he said.
More and more doctors and other health professionals are acknowledging the benefits of professional massage, Smith said. He works with a lot of patients on pain management for injuries such as whiplash, torn rotary cuffs and back pain, he said.
“It even helps pregnant women with lower back pain,” Smith added. “I often work with a physical therapist to loosen the patient up so they can go into therapy.”
Smith said September’s class is filling up fast. Interested students can call 249-6645 for more information.