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Continuing Education

Continuing Education at Ashland Institute of Massage (AIM)

Classes & Workshops

Welcome to the Ashland Institute of Massage Continuing Education page! We offer an evolving variety of high-quality continuing education classes and workshops for licensed massage therapists, other health care workers, and occasionally the general public. Held year-round, these classes range in topic from therapeutic treatment skills to new bodywork modalities, from ethics to insurance billing.

Course Descriptions

Nonviolent Communication Skills: Listening Deeply/Expressing Clearly

Instructor: Joanne Lescher
July 27, 2019, 8 am–12 noon (4 Ethics/Communication/Boundaries CEU hours)
$75 ($85 after July 10, 2019)

We all want to be heard and understood! Our clients certainly do, and keeping communication clear and effective can be a challenge of its own. Join Joanne to learn some simple techniques that will help you discover the healing power of empathic listening—for both your professional and personal lives. We will also address your real-life experiences, and you’ll take home fresh ideas and techniques for expressing yourself cleanly and clearly. This course meets the 4 hour Ethics, Communication and/or Boundaries requirement for Oregon LMT license renewal.

Joanne Lescher Joanne Lescher, CT, is a certified trainer in nonviolent communication. As an experienced mediator and group facilitator, she equips people to dialogue with each other more effectively. Renowned for her warmth, empathy, and humor, Joanne teaches practical skills that clients can immediately exercise in their practices and lives. Her reputation has been affectionately summarized as an “ability to tame lions.” Register

Ortho-Bionomy® Releases for the Spine & Pelvis- ‘Structure Governs Function’ (phase 4)

Instructor: Jim Berns
August 3 & 4, 2019 (Saturday & Sunday), 9 am–6 pm (16 CEU hours)
$310 ($350 after July 21, 2019)

The releases demonstrated in this class use osteopathic-based gentle body positions and movements to stimulate self-correcting reflexes within the muscles and nerves. This highly specific and structurally-oriented method can move the client out of pain and discomfort within ten to thirty seconds. This class focuses on releases for the neck; thoracic and lumbar spine; sacrum; iliac; and psoas muscles. This course is NCBTMB approved.

Jim Berns Jim Berns, Ortho-Bionomy®–Registered Advanced Instructor, has taught internationally for over thirty years. He is coauthor of Ortho-Bionomy: A Practical Manual. Jim was trained by Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls, the founder of Ortho-Bionomy®. A certified massage therapist since 1979, he was named 2013 Educator of the Year by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Jim brings to his over three decades of teaching detailed information, a compassionate heart, and a unique sense of humor.

When Structure Meets Energy Series: Non- Forcing Release Techniques

Jim Gilkeson
September 7 & 8, 2019 (Saturday & Sunday),9 am–5 pm (14 CEU hours)
$275($310 after August 22, 2019)

Regardless of the healing modalities you use, there is a way to bring the world of energy and consciousness into your touchwork. “When Structure Meets Energy” is a course series for bodyworkers who want to blend energetic principles and practices with their bodywork practice. It is also a course for practitioners of subtle energetic disciplines who wish to incorporate the physical body into their work. Participants will work in a non-modality-bound way with both the physical structure and the energy field of their treatment partners. This series is about integrating energy work and bodywork practices into what can be called “energy-active bodywork.”In Non-Forcing Release Techniques you will learn unwinding and several other non-forcing release strategies from craniosacral and subtle energy therapies. We will develop ways of using the physical body as a “handle” on larger processes, from physical to emotional and psycho-spiritual. In this class, we will also explore a basic, broadly applicable energy-based model for understanding trauma. In addition, you will learn a number of energy exercises for self-healing and personal development.

Jim Gilkeson Jim Gilkeson has taught energy healing for 35 years. A former Harbin Hot Springs bodywork therapist, Jim has written two books on energy healing: A Pilgrim in Your Body: Energy Healing and Spiritual Process and Energy Healing: A Pathway to Inner Growth.

Syntropy Insight Bodywork

Instructors: Shari Sunshine and Tobin McKee
Sept 14 & 15, 2019 (Saturday & Sunday), 9 am–6 pm (16 CEU hours)
$310 ($350 after September 3, 2019)

This is a special opportunity to study with the mother/son educator team of Shari Sunshine and Tobin McKee. Discover the direct feedback of your clients’ response to your touch. Develop your ability to work directly with what your clients’ bodies are expressing. Awaken your creativity as you begin to improvise in every moment. Every body is different, and yet every body enjoys the pleasure of perfect contact. This workshop is all about finding that sweet spot and expanding it. In this course we integrate Syntropy with massage on the back, in prone position, improving your quality of touch and the efficiency of deeper work. When you work with your clients’ relaxation response, you are able to directly and enjoyably address those common trouble spots that everyone wants you to work on. We will also practice insightful client intake, continuity of touch, and Healing Qi Gong for sustaining energy and improving body mechanics.

With more than 60 years combined teaching experience, Shari Sunshine and Tobin McKee each spent more than a decade as massage school directors. Shari co-founded Ashland Massage Institute and created Syntropy Insight Bodywork. Tobin studied Syntropy with Shari, and then founded Arcata School of Massage and created Middleway Method Somatic Education. Shari developed Syntropy Insight Bodywork in response to the need for training that emphasizes compassionate touch, self-care, and creative improvisation. Tobin developed Middleway Method Somatic Education through fourteen years of experimentation, in his efforts to produce consistently employable and effective massage therapists. Learn more about Shari and Tobin at

Enhancing the Therapeutic Relationship

Instructors: Sam & Kelly Vittoria
Sept 28, 2019 (Saturday), 9 am- 1 pm (4 Ethics/ Communication/ Boundaries CEU hours)
$75 ($85 after Sept. 16, 2019)

With presence, compassion, and attunement, we can create a greater sense of safety and trust with our clients. In this interactive class, we will explore what it means to be in a therapeutic relationship with our clients by utilizing fascinating recent discoveries in Neuroscience. We will look specifically at how the therapist’s state of being and nonverbal communication can access an important gateway to healing. This four-hour class includes small group explorations as well as large group discussions and lecture. You will earn 4 Ethics/Communication/Boundaries continuing education hours, required by OBMT for license renewal.

Kelly and Sam Vittoria Kelly Vittoria, LMT, RCST, has been a practicing massage therapist for 17 years, and an instructor for 10 years. During this time, Kelly has developed a deep understanding for how essential the therapeutic relationship is for healing. Sam Vittoria, CHP, is a mindfulness-based somatic counselor who is trained in the art of therapeutic presence, attunement, and communication. He is a skilled in numerous psychotherapeutic modalities, all of which place the therapeutic relationship at the center of healing. Together, their warm and welcoming presence create a feeling of trust and ease with both their clients and students.

Table Thai

Instructor: D'vorah Swarzman
October 26 & 27, 2019 (Saturday & Sunday), 9 am–5 pm (14 CEU hours)
$275 ($310 after Oct. 11, 2019)

Learn how to integrate Thai Massage stretches, compression, traction, joint mobilization and acupressure into your table/oil massage. There will be a strong emphasis on body mechanics and honoring the traditional spiritual roots of this ancient Thai healing art. This class will enhance your table massage but does not take the place of Traditional Thai Massage, which is performed on the floor.

D'vorah SwarzmanD’vorah Swarzman, LMT, has been studying the art and science of traditional Thai massage since 1993, returning regularly to Thailand for further study. She is a graduate of Heartwood Institute’s 750 hour Advanced Massage Therapist program. She has a private practice in Ashland, Oregon and is an instructor with and founding member of the Thai Healing Alliance International. She integrates rhythm, improvisation and mindfulness into her practice. .


You may register online by clicking on the class of your choice or calling 541.482.5134.

Early Enrollment Discount

We offer an early enrollment discount for registrations paid in full by the noted early enrollment date for each course. See course descriptions for details.


Cancellations may be made via letter, email or phone. Cancellations with fewer than three (3) days’ notice will be charged half the seminar tuition. Other cancellations will be charged a $25 cancellation fee.

Accommodations in Ashland

Stratford Inn Ashland honors 10% off for our guests.

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Teaching Opportunities

Call us at 541.482.5134email us, or complete our contact form if you’re interested in teaching Continuing Education classes at AIM.