a student practicing massage

Philosophy and Goals

The mission of the Downeast School of Massage is to train individuals in the art of science of therapeutic massage for an entry-level professional career, for continuing education, and for personal growth. The program content is based not only on meeting the 500-hour minimum required by most states and the National Certification Board, but also on our instructors' and administrators' years of experience in the field and their understanding of the depth and wide range of knowledge and skills that are necessary for practicing massage in a caring, competent manner.

See our Location and Physical Facility

the Dail Cottage, student housinginside the Dail Cottage
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students in class

students in class

a group of happy students


About the School

The Downeast School of Massage was established in 1981 for the purpose of training individuals in the health professional career field of Massage Therapy. DSM began with the founder-director, Nancy Dail, and four determined students. As the years passed, the school has grown with its graduates and the profession. Although the program began with a strong core curriculum of Swedish Massage and related courses, additional courses and program shifts gradually developed, as the vision of the profession became reality. DSM became committed to giving students a quality personal education that included more choice in diverse selections of Shiatsu, Sports Massage, or Body/Mind Courses.

The class of 1993 was the first to graduate from the new facility. Built with growth in mind, the passive solar building offers a spacious learning environment, as well as a library, the DSM Store, student lounge, spa, and sauna. Students are able to stroll around the campus trails during breaks and off-hours, seasonally utilizing sneakers or skis. They even enjoy skating on the 30-acre pond.

January 1994 launched a new program start: students are now able to start in either September or January. The September program has the widest variety of schedules, including part-time. The January program allows us to run through the summer months and comprises mostly day classes. Excluding guest speakers, currently there are 12 instructors who teach a wide variety of courses and schedules to our students.

The year 2007 began with changes in our concentrations. The Body/Mind content has been absorbed into the core curriculum, and a new Energy Quest concentration was born, embracing Polarity, Quantum Touch, and CranioSacral. Our 2015-16 catalog reflects an increase in clinic hours, deep tissue courses, and an inclusion of Sports Massage and CranialSacral into one dynamic program. Shiatsu, Polarity, and Introduction to Energy Healing can be taken along with other continuing education courses offered annually.

Fall 2014 ushered in the 55th class to begin their journey toward mastering the art and science of massage therapy.

In 1995, our program was reviewed for competencies. To this date, these competencies are instilled in our curriculum, are student tested, and give the graduate assurance in the field. Our graduates are enabled to become licensed in the state of Maine without further testing. For those who seek National Certification, continuing education at DSM has been approved by the National Certification Board for recertifying purposes.

Licensing and Membership

DSM is licensed through the Department of Education, Higher Education Services of the State of Maine. As such, we have received funds for students from Vocational Rehabilitation and other state-funded programs.

The American Massage Therapy Association, a national and international organization for professional massage therapists, was founded in 1943. The AMTA focuses on continuing education, promoting legislation, malpractice insurance, and the profession of massage therapy. DSM encourages membership in the AMTA, to enjoy the support of the state chapter and to reap the benefits of the organization.

The Downeast School of Massage is a member of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. The AFMTE is a national professional organization for schools, faculty and continuing education providers dedicated to furthering education in the field of massage and bodywork.

Veterans Administration Educational Benefits

The programs at DSM are approved for the education of eligible military personnel, veterans, and their dependents under various educational assistance programs. Programs are reviewed and approved by the State Approving Agency for Veterans' Education Programs, PO Box 355, Winthrop, ME 04364.