To complement “Positive Influence: Become a Massage Therapy Instructor,” by Ariana Vincent, in the June 2015 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: This massage instructor’s path included massage practice, study, mentorship, continuing education, conferences and national approval.

massage therapy instructor


My career in massage began 34 years ago, when I first opened my massage therapy practice in a medical environment. I was fortunate to study with excellent core curriculum instructors and subsequently with some amazing massage therapy instructors and continuing education providers. They inspired me on my path to becoming an educator in the massage profession.


Massage Therapy Instructor Foundation

The foundation for teaching was laid when I began my academic career at the University of Texas in Austin. In 1979, I was awarded a bachelor’s and a bachelor’s in fine arts from the university.

Subsequently, I participated in graduate studies in the psychology program at JFK University and in the counseling and guidance program at Texas State University, formerly known as Texas State Teachers’ College. Throughout my university career, I participated in numerous courses that helped me develop linguistic skills and deepen my research literacy, which ultimately made me a better educator. I also observed the various teaching styles of my instructors and learned about effective and ineffective teaching methods as I continued to learn and grow through experiences in academia.

While living in northern Quebec, Canada, from 1993 to 1995, I developed curriculum and taught English as a Second Language (ESL) courses in my English language school, L’Ecole Ariana de la Langue Anglaise. The majority of my students were adult learners whose native language was French. I taught in St. Ambroise, Chicoutimi and LaBaie, in Quebec. Two other ESL teachers in the Saguenay Lac-St-Jean region of Quebec taught me how to develop my course curriculum and how to create interesting learning activities for my students. Their mentoring and guidance was invaluable.

I also learned a significant amount about the educational process for adult learners from my phenomenal French teacher, Lily Martel, with whom I studied in LaBaie, Quebec, while I was teaching ESL. I adapted many of the teaching techniques and exercises that Lily incorporated in our French language class to my ESL classes. I will be forever grateful to my Canadian mentors for their roles in helping form me as an educator.



In 1999, when I returned to the U.S., I was fortunate enough to study with an excellent massage therapy instructor, Irene Watson, who kindly took me under her wing and provided resources and inspiration as I learned how to create and teach advanced continuing education massage courses. She influenced me greatly in my career as a massage therapy instructor.

When we first met, Irene was a skilled business instructor at a massage school in Austin, Texas. When she retired from teaching, she invited me to come to her home and peruse the numerous teaching materials she had accumulated throughout her career. I carefully studied her material and combined that with my own independent research and I developed my first continuing education class, Marketing and Practice Building.

Receiving mentoring, doing research, and participating in hundreds of advanced continuing education courses helped broaden my horizons and deepen my insights into the intricacies of teaching adults in the massage community since, to the best of my knowledge, there were no massage therapy instructor courses available 16 years ago when I began teaching.

Later that year, Texas enacted a regulation that every new massage therapy instructor applicant be required to participate in a 30-hour Teaching Adult Learners course in order to become a state-approved massage therapy instructor. I saw a need in the massage community and I developed and designed the Ariana Institute’s online 30-hour Teaching Adult Learners Massage Therapy Instructor Course.

The Ariana Institute’s Massage Therapy Instructor course was originally approved in Texas in 1999 and it is now approved in the majority of states in the U.S. Once I obtained approval to offer the Massage Therapy Instructor course in Texas, the next step was to obtain National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) approval. In 2002, the NCBTMB approved my Massage Therapy Instructor course for 30 hours of continuing education credit.



I chose NCBTMB approval because I have consistently been impressed with the excellent work that NCBTMB does to support members of the massage community in their refinement of the educational process, through social media resources, at national and local massage conferences and conventions, and on their beautifully designed website, which lists NCBTMB-approved massage therapists and NCBTMB-approved continuing education providers. It is an organization that exemplifies the importance of focusing on the integrity and professionalism of massage therapists on a national level.

I am honored to continue being a part of the NCBTMB as a Board Certified Massage Therapist and an NCBTMB Approved Provider of Continuing Education. I highly recommend alignment with NCBTMB, because not only does it serve to enhance your name recognition and marketing opportunities, you become part of a larger community of kindred spirits who are focused on professionalism in the massage community.


Conferences Matter

Another facet in the evolution of what seemed to be a very organic flow in my educational journey unfolded as I participated in numerous advanced continuing education courses and attended local and national conferences, including conferences presented by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education, American Massage Therapy Association and Texas Association of Massage Therapists.

Over the course of my 34 years as a massage therapist, I participated in continuing education courses and conferences in order to be well-informed about the subject matter being presented and also to observe the teaching styles of other instructors.

During the 16 years I have been a Texas-approved Massage Therapy Instructor and Continuing Education Provider and the 13 years I have been an NCBTMB-approved Continuing Education Provider, I feel that I have been fortunate to grow and evolve as an educator as a result of participating in a multitude of educational experiences.


Winning Combination

In my journey to becoming an educator, the winning combination included being a massage therapist for many years, studying in an academic environment, receiving mentoring from experts in the field, researching and observing the educational process, attending advanced continuing education classes and workshops, and receiving state and national approval as an educator.

The culmination of years of dedication to the massage profession that I love has created a matrix that serves as a foundation for the Ariana Institute’s Massage Therapy Instructor class that exists today.


Ariana VincentAbout the Author

Ariana Vincent is CEO and founder of Ariana Institute for Wellness Education (, which offers a course in becoming a Massage Therapy Instructor. She is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork Approved Provider of Continuing Education and a massage therapy instructor. She has been an educator for more than 16 years and a massage therapist for more than 34 years.