Mission and History

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The mission of the Massage Therapy Program at Northwestern Health Sciences University is to educate therapists as leaders in the field, to elevate the standards of practice, and to advance the profession through scientific research.

We prepare massage therapists who are committed to service and lifelong learning, and who are qualified to practice both independently and as members of integrated healthcare teams.

Graduates of Northwestern's Massage Therapy Program will ground their work in scientific knowledge, clinical proficiency, and the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior.


In the late 1990’s, then Northwestern President Dr. John Allenburg envisioned transforming what was then a single college into a multi-program health sciences university including a school of massage therapy. What followed was the inception of a small program that quickly grew in size and impact.

Dr. Allenburg assembled a team of massage therapists who became the founding faculty members. They sought to elevate massage therapy education to a university level – providing a depth and quality previously not available in Minnesota. This vision led to the creation of the School of Massage Therapy in September 2000.

Within 3 years, the school established its own teaching clinic. By 2005, the certificate program became accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation, the first in the state to achieve this standard.

In its first 10 years, the school established numerous clinical partnerships – expanding massage therapy into clinics, hospitals, social service agencies and rehabilitation centers. In that same period, the school graduated several hundred new massage therapists.

In 2015, the school was re-organized as the Massage Therapy Program in the newly created College of Health and Wellness.

Northwestern’s Massage Therapy Program continues to realize that original vision – elevating massage therapy education to fill a growing demand for integrative approaches to health.

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