About Ralph Stephens

Ralph is a 2008 Inductee, Massage Therapy Hall of Fame!

Ralph Stephens has been practicing massage therapy to successfully treat the injuries and pain complaints of his clients for the last 32 years. While his particular focus is on athletes with clients ranging from Olympians and Paralympians to passionate amateurs, he also works with other populations from couch potatoes, pre-natal, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia to MS, post-surgery, and brain/cord injuries. Their continued performance, rapid recoveries, and relief from pain is a testament to Ralph’s excellent work, combining sports massage techniques, neuromuscular therapy, medical massage, and Neural Reset Therapy┬« (NRT).

But while his clients sing the praises of his hands-on skills, the massage therapy community knows him best as a gifted teacher. He is known for his ability to take complex anatomical and physiological concepts and make them both easy to understand and immediately applicable. His entertaining presentations make learning fun and easy to remember. Ralph says of his own teaching style, “I am not simply teaching to impress my students with what I can do, but to share with them what I know so they can become more successful therapists. ” As a Massage Therapy Hall of Fame inductee, textbook author, regular Massage Today columnist, AMTA National Meritorious Award winner and 2017 CE Provider Teacher of the Year,Ralph stands out as one of the few Master Instructors in the field of massage and soft tissue therapy. Ralph’s focus is on ensuring that students learn what it is they need to become more effective, successful massage therapists.

Ralph’s vision is for more of the public to receive high quality therapeutic massage. To accomplish this, he aims to train ever-increasing numbers of massage therapists in advanced techniques that are effective at two things simultaneously: helping clients recover from injury and pain, and preventing injury in the massage therapists themselves, thereby helping to sustain and prolong their careers. It’s for this purpose that he travels to teach so extensively, rather than keeping his head down and worrying only about his own clients.

Ralph himself never stops learning, whether it’s a new massage technique like NRT or perfecting his golf swing or yoga skills. What is his invitation to you as a massage therapist? “Come study with me, so together we can help more people live healthier, happier, pain-free lives.”

DON'T MISS any opportunity to study with this award winning instructor in person at live seminars or by video. Allow Ralph to share with you the wisdom and knowledge he has acquired from over 32 years of clinical and teaching experience.


Short Version (75 words) for sponsors to use in promotional brochures.
Ralph Stephens has been using massage to help clients ranging from Olympic athletes to everyday amateurs recover from their injuries since 1986. He travels extensively across the US and abroad, teaching advanced therapeutic massage techniques that provide a pain-free experience for both clients and therapists. A Massage Therapy Hall of Fame inductee, Stephens’ goal is to train more therapists in highly effective techniques, “so together we can help more people live healthier, happier, pain-free lives.”


Publications & Video Training Materials

Ralph is a published author, writing a regular editorial column in Massage Today Magazine, numerous other articles in magazines and journals as well as textbooks. Ralph's first textbook, Therapeutic Chair Massage was released in 2005 by pubisher Lippincott, Wilkins, & Williams (LWW).Ralph was the first to introduce and advocate the therapeutic paradigm in seated massage when he released his ground-breaking, standard setting video series Therapeutic Chair Massage in 1995. He has been a contributing author to two other textbooks. He has written and produced over 15 video training programs including:

  • Seated Therapeutic Massage - a 3-DVD Series
  • The Feel Great! Hands-On Health Series - a 4 DVD series (Out of print)
  • Event Sports Massage
  • Therapeutic Sports Massage for the Lower Extremity
  • Anatomy of the Lower Extremity (Out of Print)
  • Side-Lying Therapeutic Massage
  • Medical Massage for the Cervical Region
  • Medical Massage for the Lumbar Region
  • Medical Massage for the Abdominal Wall
  • Medical Massage for the Shoulder Girdle
  • Golf-Flexology
  • Stretching That Works


For more information on live seminars, check out the seminar pages on this site. Other States have also approved Ralph's seminars for CE's. Check with the individual promotor of the seminar or with your State Board Office for approval information. CE's from Ralph's live seminars are approved for NCBTMB, AMTA, Iowa, New Mexico, and Florida Renewals.

Educational and Professional Background

Ralph graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Industrial Education. He worked as a professional musician (drummer/vocalist) in several regional bands, two of which, RURAL, and the Deputy Dawg Band, have been inducted in to the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 and 2009 respectively. While on the road with the Deputy Dawg Band, Ralph discovered therapeutic massage. When Deputy Dawg broke up, Ralph went to the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics in Albuquerque. He returned to Iowa and opened the first office practice of massage therapy open to the public in Iowa City in 1986. The practice expanded to include three associate therapists and a DC. Once Ralph began teaching full time, he closed the center but maintains a home-office practice.

Ralph has been an active volunteer in The American Massage Therapy Association. He founded the Iowa Sports Massage Team in 1986 and served as Iowa AMTA Chapter President, First Vice President, Convention Chairperson, Education Chairperson and Sports Massage Team Chairperson. He served three terms on The AMTA National Board of Directors, three terms as a Trustee of the AMTA Foundation and two terms on the AMTA National Nominating Committee.

He is a founding member of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) and served two terms on the AFMTE Board of Directors.

Ralph served four terms on the Iowa Board of Examiners for Massage Therapy. He was elected Secretary of the Board from 1992-1995 and Chairperson from 1995-2000.

Awards & Certifications

Ralph Stephens is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider. since 1996, provider #037587-00.

Ralph was awarded the 2017 CE Provider Teacher of the Year award by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education(AFMTE)

Ralph is a 2008 Inductee, Massage Therapy Hall of Fame.

In 1997, Ralph was awarded the AMTA National Meritorious Award for Leadership, Dedication and Commitment.

Ralph has been recognized by the Marquis Who's Who Publication Board and selected for 4 different Who's Who publications:-
Marquis is the one you cannot buy your way into, you must be selected on merit.

Who's Who in America
Who's Who in the World
Who's Who in American Education
Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare

Additional Interests

Golf is Ralph's primary recreation. He actively practices Yoga, QiGong, drumming, and meditation. Occasionally he still performs music.