Massage school offers blended learning curriculum style
Reporter: Melissa Walther
Daily Inter Lake Newspaper
For Michael Eayrs, teaching and massage go hand in hand. Eayrs founded the
Montana Institute of Massage Therapy in 1999 with the first campus in Kalispell and eventually a campus in Billings; he sold MIMT in 2005. Developing a school was a way to combine his two passions of teaching and massage and share that passion with his students. In 2010 Michael started receiving phone calls from interested students requesting he start another school. He started the Massage Training Institute in 2011. Michael spent the last couple years between schools advancing his medical training as a full time student at the University of Montana in Missoula.
Eayrs brings 23 years of soft tissue experience, 15 years teaching, private
practice experience and advanced training to the table, making sure students
have the benefit of his expertise. He was also a past chairman of the Montana
Board of Massage, as well as the Montana representative to MBLEx meetings in Chicago, where he contributed to the development of the current exam.
"I like teaching, and it’s something I do well," he said. His students feel
the same way.
"The Massage Training Institute is a wonderful program, designed to enable
people to go back to school for massage without having to put life on hold,"
said Claire Colburn, a 2013 graduate of the program from Helena. "Michael Eayrs was able to adapt the program to each student’s specific needs and learning style, ensuring better retention of knowledge and improving the rate of success. I achieved my dream of becoming a massage therapist through MTI, working and learning with some amazing and talented people and making lifelong friendships along the way. Michael is a wonderful instructor and mentor. I hope to further my knowledge in massage by taking continuing education courses from him in the future."The 500-hour course meets all requirements of state licensure and national examinations. Students receive instruction in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, business and ethics and massage theory, as well as hands-on massage theory application. Eayrs said MTI’s focus is on "western contemporary massage techniques with an emphasis on medical massage."
"I have developed a comprehensive massage training program that provides
students the essential elements needed to become superior massage therapists." Eayrs said. "Some of the things that set this program apart from other programs are affordable tuition price and schedule flexibility with a blended learning style which includes weekend classes and online audio lectures and testing. "Because of these options, we have students traveling from cities across Montana for our massage training."
Students at MTI have access to the instructor for guidance in every class
taught. Only those courses that do not need hands-on guidance and demonstration are offered online. This makes it possible for the weekend classes to focus on instructor demonstration with student application and practice of therapeutic procedures and techniques.
"It is not possible to receive an excellent massage therapy education without
having a solid hands-on, instructor guided training," Eayrs said. "It is of very
high priority that graduating massage therapists exit their training having been
put to the test in their hands-on skills, as well as proving their scholastic
That unique approach has proved successful, with 100 percent of his graduates
passing the MBLEx National Massage Exam on the first try.
"We really focus on massage therapy application essentials in the weekend
classes," Eayrs said. "There’s a lot of wasted time in education with
prerequisites. Part of it is to make a well-rounded individual and to prove that
you have that ‘stick-to-it-ivness’ to finish the program. I understand all the
reasons behind it. But people who want to get into massage already know it’s
what they want to do. They’re serious, and they want to start now, with a very
Included in the traditional massage program, Eayrs said MTI offers a
neuromuscular certification course. Neuromuscular therapy is advanced massage training which uses very specific massage application.
"Some people look at massage therapy as a full time career choice, and others
look at it as an addition to their lives," Eayrs said. "It’s primarily driven by
females, but men make up an important percentage of the profession, too. It’s
easier than a lot of other professions to work around children or even other
employment. You could work at a spa, open your own practice, or work in a
medical clinic or hospital."
Eayrs has a private massage practice alongside his son, Jeffrey. Eayrs said he has seen a growing number of options for massage business develop over the past 25 years.
According to statistics from the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of
Labor Statistics, employment of massage therapists is expected to grow by 20
percent from 2010 to 2020 – faster than the average for all occupations.