From National Certification Examination

Candidate Handbook JULY 2003[1] Internet Link


NOTE: This is not an official NCBTMB publication and will not necessarily prepare you to pass the National Certification examination.

Table of Contents

1       Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Kinesiology (27 %) 2

1.1        Western. 2

1.2        Non-Western. 2

2       Clinical Pathology and Recognition of Various Conditions (20 %) 2

2.1        History and client intake process. 2

2.2        Disease and injury related conditions. 3

3       Massage Therapy and Bodywork: Theory, Assessment, and Application (41 %) 3

3.1        Assessment 3

3.2        Application. 3

3.3        Touch therapy modalities. 4

3.4        Holistic principles. 4

4       Professional Standards, Ethics, and Business Practices (12 %) 4

4.1        NCBTMB Code of Ethics. 4

4.2        Confidentiality of client information. 4

4.3        Effective interprofessional communication (e.g., doctors, chiropractors, nutritionists, and counselors) 4

4.4        Use of proper income reporting procedures. 4

4.5        Basic business and accounting practices. 4

4.6        Session record keeping practices. 4

4.7        Scope of practice: legal & ethical parameters. 4

5       Reference List 4



1      Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Kinesiology (27 %)

1.1   Western

1.1.1   Major systems; location and function          Integumentary system          Skeletal system          Muscular system    Muscular Anatomy    Muscle Discussions          Nervous system          Endocrine system          Cardiovascular system          Lymphatic and Immune system          Respiratory system          Digestive system     Urinary system     Reproductive system     Craniosacral system

1.1.2   Biomechanics and Kinesiology          Efficient and safe movement patterns          Proprioception          Basic principles of biomechanics and Kinesiology

1.1.3   Basic medical terminology

1.2   Non-Western

1.2.1   Traditional Chinese Medicine          Primary meridians and organ physiology          Extraordinary meridians - conception and governing vessels          Five element theory

1.2.2   Other energetic systems

2      Clinical Pathology and Recognition of Various Conditions (20 %)

2.1   History and client intake process

2.1.1   Emotional states and stress leading to disease

2.1.2   History of abuse and trauma related to disease and recovery

2.1.3   Impact of client medical history on disease and recovery

2.1.4   Effects of life stages on basic health and well-being

2.2   Disease and injury related conditions

2.2.1   Signs and symptoms of disease of the major systems of the body; indications and contraindications

2.2.2   Physiological changes and healing mechanisms

3      Massage Therapy and Bodywork: Theory, Assessment, and Application (41 %)

3.1   Assessment

3.1.1   Effects of gravity

3.1.2   Integration of structure and function

3.1.3   Use of palpation for assessment of craniosacral pulses, energy blockages, and bony landmarks

3.1.4   Somatic holding patterns in clients

3.1.5   Using visual cues in assessing clients

3.1.6   Conventional Western medical approaches to client’s illness

3.1.7   Structural compensatory patterns

3.1.8   Interview techniques

3.2   Application

3.2.1   Sites to avoid on client’s body

3.2.2   Proper client draping and positional support

3.2.3   Physiological and emotional effects of touch on client

3.2.4   Effective and appropriate responses to client’s emotional needs

3.2.5   Universal precautions

3.2.6   Use of appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication skills with client

3.2.7   Physiological changes brought about by touch therapy during session

3.2.8   Practitioner’s self-awareness during a session

3.2.9   Using strategies to plan single and multiple client sessions

3.2.10            Use of manual contact & manual manipulation to affect soft tissue, connective tissue, fascia, joints, and the energy system

3.2.11            Use of joint mobilization techniques

3.2.12            Use of terms related to quality of movement

3.2.13            Using & teaching basic principles of posture & client kinesthetic awareness

3.2.14            Hydrotherapy

3.2.15            CPR \ First aid

3.3   Touch therapy modalities

3.4   Holistic principles

3.4.1   Energetic effects of nutrition

3.4.2   Stress management/relaxation techniques

3.4.3   Corrective exercises for clients

3.4.4   Principles of nutrition and its impact on health maintenance

3.4.5   Principles of holistic practice

3.4.6   Practitioner kinesthetic awareness

4      Professional Standards, Ethics, and Business Practices (12 %)

4.1   NCBTMB Code of Ethics

4.2   Confidentiality of client information

4.3   Effective interprofessional communication (e.g., doctors, chiropractors, nutritionists, and counselors)

4.4   Use of proper income reporting procedures

4.5   Basic business and accounting practices

4.6   Session record keeping practices

4.7   Scope of practice: legal & ethical parameters

5      Reference List          American Red Cross. Standard First Aid. St. Louis: Mosby Lifeline, 2001.          Ashley, Martin. Massage: A Career at Your Fingertips. 3rd Edition. Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Press, 1998.          Beresford-Cooke, Carola. Shiatsu Theory and Practice. A comprehensive text for the student and professional. 2nd Edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone. 1998.          Clemente, Carmine. Anatomy: A Regional Atlas of the Human Body. 4th Edition. Baltimore, MD: Williams and Wilkins, 1998.          Fritz, Sandy. Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage. 2nd Edition. St. Louis: Mosby, 1999.          Fritz, Sandy, Kathleen Maison Paholsky and M. James Grosenbach. Mosby’s Basic Science for Soft Tissue and Movement Therapies. St. Louis: Mosby, 1999.          Kendall, Florence Peterson, McReary, Elizabeth Kendall and Patricia Geise Provance. Muscles: Testing and Function. 4th Edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkens, 1993.          Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. 1st Edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone. 1989.          Pritchard, Sarah. The Chinese Massage Manual: The Healing Art of Tuina. Sterling Publications. 1999.     Sohnen-Moe, Cheri. Business Mastery. 3rd Edition. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1997.     Salvo, Susan. Massage Therapy: Principles and Practice. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company, 1999.     Tappan, Frances M. and Patricia Benjamin. Tappan’s Handbook of Healing Massage Techniques: Classic, Holistic, and Emerging Methods. 3rd Edition. Connecticut: Appleton and Lange, 1998.     Thomas, C.L. ed. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. 19th Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Davis Co., 2001.     Thompson, Diana. Hands Heal: Documentation for Massage Therapy. Self Published, 2001.     Tortora, Gerard J. and Sandra R. Grabowski. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. 10th Edition. New York: Harper and Collins Publishers, Inc., 1996.          Werner, Ruth and Ben E. Benjamin. A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology. 2nd Edition. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1998.


[1] National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork

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