Harper College

Mission and Philosophy

Massage Therapy Program Mission

The Massage Therapy Program derives its purpose and functions from the mission, vision, philosophy, and core values of William Rainey Harper College.  The program is committed to academic excellence and provides educational opportunities which enable students to acquire the knowledge, skills, abilities, and values to become competent, ethical massage therapists who can deliver comprehensive, quality massage therapy and who will strive for continued growth through life-long learning and professional excellence as the new generation of leaders in the massage therapy profession.


Massage Therapy Program Philosophy

The Harper College Massage Therapy Program curriculum is built around the following educational philosophy:

  • Massage therapy is an allied health care field by virtue of the health-related effects massage therapy has in the body of the recipient. These health-related effects can occur regardless of the setting in which the treatment occurs, whether in a hospital, doctor’s clinic, private practice, fitness center, spa, in a corporate office or on a beach.
  • Massage therapists can affect different changes in the body of the client based on their choice of techniques and the manner in which those techniques are applied. As such, it is crucial that professional massage therapists have a working knowledge of the body’s structure and function and the ways in which pathologies can affect the body’s systems, as well as the effects that different massage therapy techniques interact with those systems and pathologies in order to work with clients safely and effectively.
  • Massage therapists must be able to think critically about the effects of their treatment, stay on top of current research and act ethically in the best interests of their client, even when that means deciding massage therapy might not be the right treatment choice. Application of an aspirational ethics construct where the client’s best interests are at the heart of every decision is the best way to accomplish this.
  • Massage therapy has a growing body of scientific knowledge that helps professional massage therapists zero in on customized treatments that will be most beneficial for their clients. As with any science-based endeavor, massage therapists must be able to adapt their thinking as new evidence comes to light. The critical thinking skills and humility it takes to change one’s mind is key to being an effective massage therapy professional.
  • New Massage Therapists are joining a profession with a long history of caring and heart-centered practice. Professional massage therapists must balance the art and science to keep as their primary focus the health needs of all individuals – needs which range from states of high-level wellness to states of illness, disability, and impending death.
  • Harper College’s Massage Therapy Program is built on the foundation of ethical practice applied to this specialized body of knowledge and skills related to massage therapy and how it can be used to support those with varied health needs.
  • We define massage therapy as the purposeful use of systematic manual manipulations of the soft tissues of the body for therapeutic purposes.
  • Learning is an individual and continuous process resulting in behavioral changes which can be measured. That learning is facilitated and affected by motivation, self-discipline, and structured experiences. The role of the instructor is to guide the learner, identify learning needs, and implement the best approaches to meet these needs.
  • Our classroom and curricular policies are based on Massage Therapy students being adult learners and as such are ultimately responsible for their own learning.
  • By implementing a combination of didactic and experiential learning, a Harper College Massage Therapy Program student who dedicates themselves to their studies can develop into an effective practitioner, a responsible and culturally sensitive citizen, and a more fulfilled and mature individual.
Last Updated: 4/8/24