About Ralph Stephens Seminars

Ralph R. Stephens is an internationally recognized instructor, author and video producer, and has been a popular presenter at state, regional and national massage therapy meetings for more then 19 years. He has a bachelor's degree in education from Iowa State University and graduated from New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics as a Natural Therapeutics Specialist. He is an Iowa and a New Mexico Licensed Massage Therapist, is past chair of the Iowa Board of Massage Therapy Examiners, and was awarded the AMTA National Meritorious Award in 1997. Ralph is a 2008 Inductee in the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame. He is the author of Therapeutic Chair Massage, published in 2005 by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

He was the first to adapt anatomically specific massage and stretching techniques to the seated position, and is currently specializing in Medical Massage and Seated Therapeutic Massage. In addition, he has produced 15 training videos and written numerous articles and chapters for magazines and textbooks. Ralph is a friendly, dynamic, inspiring instructor known for his entertaining delivery style that makes learning easy and enjoyable. He lives in Coralville (Iowa City) IA., and relaxes by playing golf, drumming, doing Yoga, and meditating.

  • Sign-up early and save! Take advantage of early registration discounts and guarantee your opportunity to study with Ralph.
  • All courses taught in person by Ralph R. Stephens.
  • Class sizes are limited.
  • Custom programs can be created for your staff, school or organization.
  • Participants receive significant discounts on Ralph's videos and Body Cushion Systems at all Ralph Stephens Seminars!!
  • Dates are subject to change - Please call to confirm before traveling.

All seminars are Approved CEU's

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

Seminar Descriptions

Seminar descriptions are listed one after another. Keep scrolling until you find the course you want. The order is:

Medical Massage Certification

"Ralph's Medical Massage training has truly opened my eyes to seeing new ways to treat clients and get results" F.R. - NC


"My practice has grown dramatically soince I took the first course. It continued growing more after each module. I am now able to help very challenging clients with confidence. I lam so grateful for this program - Thanks!!" E.M - GA

"Using this certification I was able to get a great position in a Sports Physical Therapy Clinic" L.M. - NC

Medical Massage Certification Program

A 100-hour training with Ralph Stephens, LMT

In this comprehensive 100-hour program, therapist and author Ralph Stephens presents a powerful and highly effective clinical approach that will enable you to help your clients with a wide range of musculoskeletal problems.

Explanations of postural distortion, including common postural syndromes and conditions in each body region will be presented. Assessment techniques will be demonstrated, followed by specific massage and stretching techniques which will enable the therapist to address the abnormal and dysfunctional tissues. Learn why it is so important to work on the "other side of the pain" and the most efficient, yet gentle ways to do it.

Module 1:
Assessment & Treatment of the Cervical, Lumbar and Pelvic Regions

Module 2
Assessment & Treatment of the Abdominal Wall, Shoulder Girdle and Upper Extremity

Module 3
Assessment & Treatment of the Lower Extremity, plus Side-Lying Strategies

This program includes 63 hours of in-class instruction, delivered in three separate modules. For those who wish to pursue certification there are 37 hours of required out-of-class assignments and treatment documentation. This work will give you the opportunity to put the theory and methods into practice, and to get feedback and evaluation from Ralph in this process.

This 3 -seminar certification program is available in Des Moines, Iowa & SIler City, North Carolina in 2014.

Each 3-day continuing education seminar is 21 contact hours. You will receive a certificate for each module for 21 CE Hours approved by tge NCBTMB.

Each day is 7 classroom hours, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm, lunch is 1 - 2 pm.

Flexible Training Format—You can progress through these modules in any order — and you can register for them individually, or together as a program for a significant savings. You may take the courses at different locations, however, the full program registration discount is not available if you chose multiple locations.

You will receive continuing education documentation at the end of each module, 21 hours of NCBTMB approved hours per module. For hours to be approved by Iowa, you must take the courses at the Iowa location.

To be awarded the optional 100 hour Certification in Medical Massage, you must pay the $150 certification fee and complete and submit all required "homework" (approximately 37 hours total). Upon approval of your submissions you will be sent your 100 hour Certificate.

Homework consists of practicing each course day's information on three different patients and writing up your experience in a SOAP Note forma plus one 4-session case study on one patient as a final projkect after taking all three courses.

Here is what graduates are saying...

  • "I have incorporated these methods into my work in a busy physical therapy clinic; my clients note a significant reduction in pain and symptoms as a result."
  • "Ralph is a phenomenal teacher... he has a wonderful sense of humor, is down-to-earth and has so much information to share. He is an encyclopedia of massage techniques."
  • "These three classes have given me a quicker and more effective way to treat my clients' conditions."
  • "Not only have I gained confidence and a whole new level of specific knowledge, I can now look at specific complaints at a holistic level throughout the body... I'm gaining a whole new base of clients who are looking for pain relief and real results."

Program Cost: Cost is $475 per workshop if registered individually. The cost for all three modules when paid at the beginning is $1225 — a savings of $200.

100-Hour Certification Fee (Optional): $150.

Individual Medical Massage Courses

Ralph's Medical Massage courses are one-day education modules, each covering a specific area of the body ( except the certification program modules ). They are sometimes offered as single day courses which are 7 to 8.5 hours in length. Other times they are packaged together as an intensive, most commonly as a 2 day course of 14 to 16 hours. Longer intensives are available each summer, as in Hawaii in 2008. The courses may be taken in any order. Some of the most popular combinations are:

Medical Massage for the Lumbar/Pelvic and Cervical Regions

16 hours CEUs - "The Essential Course for Medical Massage Therapists - Low Back & Neck!"

This 2-day seminar includes:

  • Posture Analysis - with emphasis placed on assessing the pelvis, low back and over pronation.
  • Posterior Lumbar (low back) (now available on video & DVD)
  • Thigh & Hip (available on video & DVD)
  • Cervical Region (now available on video & DVD)

This is one great course! Posture analysis places emphasis on assessment of the pelvis, reading pelvic landmarks and learning their significance. Assessment and correction of functional long leg is presented. The postural components of the pronation syndrome is also covered.

All postural muscles (except abdominals) that attach to the pelvis are studied and examined, with emphasis on postural correction and pain reduction. Examination, treatment and stretching are presented for each muscle.

Entire cervical region, posterior, lateral, and anterior is studied and examined, including the anterior muscles like longus coli, scalenes, SCM and hyoids. This is the routine shown on the Medical Massage for the Cervical Region video. It's awesome!

Sometimes presented as separate, one day courses.

Lumbar/Pelvis course is often combined with the Abdominal Wall Program. (See below)

Medical Massage for the Abdominal Wall

8.5 hour CEUs - The information and techniques most therapist are missing!

One full day is spent studying and working the Abdominal Wall, anterior, posterior, and lateral; both superficial and deep. Yes, Psoas too! You will learn why it so important to work "The Wall," which is one of the most under treated muscle groups of the body. Pain complaints caused by these tissues will be presented in detail along with how the abdominal wall musculature affects posture, athletic performance and distant joints like the shoulder. 30% lecture-70% hands-on. A variety of modalities will be presented to give you the best ways to examine and treat this region.

Participants should bring Body Cushions if they have them or three pillows (bolsters), shorts, sports bra or equivalent (female), lubricant and massage table.

Shoulder Girdle: Anterior and Posterior Shoulder Girdle and the Rotator Cuff

7.5 hours CEUs - Includes Active Isolated Stretching - Mattes Method© routine for the shoulder.

Available on video & DVD - Seated Therapeutic Massage, Vol. 2 - Shoulder

Upper Extremity/Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Forearm, wrist, hand, carpal tunnel, tennis & golfer's elbow; Deltoid to fingertips.

Includes Active Isolated Stretching - Mattes Method© routines for arm, wrist and hand.

This is a GREAT self-help course for Massage Therapists to prevent or treat over-use injuries of the upper extremity. Take this course to help yourself as well as to help your patients!!

NOTE: Shorter versions of these courses are sometimes offered for meetings or special situations.

Knee Leg, Ankle, Foot — "The Plantar Fasciitis Course"

7.5 hours CEUs - An awesome course - all muscles from the knee down are addresses.

Ligament structures of the knee and ankle are covered. Learn how to treat knee and ankle sprains, hammer toes, bunions, plantar fasciitis, and other common complaints of this area.

Includes Active Isolated Stretching — Mattes Method© routine for the entire foot and for the leg, PLUS — Active Isolated Strengthening - Mattes Method© routines for the foot and ankle.

Lower Extremity

8.5 hours CEUs - A comprehensive course on the lower extremity.

Excellent for athletes and athletic injuries of these areas. Applies to "couch potatoes" as well. Covers ankle, leg, knee, thigh and hip in prone and supine positions. Includes some Active Isolated Stretching - Mattes Method© for this region.

(available on video: Therapeutic Sports Massage for the Lower Extremity)

Therapeutic Side Lying Massage

7.5 hour CEUs - Ralph's ONLY full body course - ankle to occiput!

This day is spent working in the side lying position. Positioning, bolstering and draping are presented. Areas covered include the ankle, leg, knee, thigh, hip, abdominal wall, back, ribcage, shoulder and neck. This is excellent work for athletes and will also help you better treat special needs patients and pregnant women. 10% lecture, 90% hands on.

This course is often presented in segments for conventions. Lower extremity is 4 hours, Torso is 2 hours, Cervical regions is 1.5 hours.

Available on video & DVD - Therapeutic Side-Lying Massage

Participants should bring Body Cushions if they have them or three pillows (bolsters), shorts, sports bra (female), lubricant and massage table.

Seated Massage

Seated Therapeutic Massage

16 hours CEUs — 2 day program. A complete course in seated massage.

This is the course you need to take to move your seated massage practice to the next level of success! Covers all material on all three best selling Seated Therapeutic Massage videos, plus more stretches, more muscles, more promotional tips, and supervised, timed, practice sessions.

Participants receive significant discounts on Videos and Golden Ratio Quik-Lite Massage Chairs.

NOTE: This course may be broken into shorter segments for conventions or special promotions. For example, in 2005, Ralph will be presenting a 4 hour segment on Forearm, Wrist, and Hand from the Volume 3 video for the New England Regional Conference, The International Spa Show in Las Vegas, and the AMTA National Convention in Albuquerque. See schedule for dates and contact information.

Short programs include:

  • Back & Neck - 4 hours
  • Shoulder - 4 hours
  • Forearm, Wrist & Hand/Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - 4 hours

NOTE: Massage Chair or other seated system needed. Bring yours if you have one. Pillows will be provided for those without a chair or system.

Event/Sports Massage

Theory and Practice of Event Sports Massage

8.5 hours CEUs

In this course, you will learn:

  • Each stroke used in the Sports Massage System, how each stroke affects the body and the nervous system and when to use each stroke.
  • Proper working postures, therapist body-mechanics and correct hand and thumb techniques will be emphasized.
  • Techniques for managing cramps and thermal injuries
  • You will study, give, and receive 12 minute Pre-Event and Post Event treatments as well as a short inter-competition routine.

Note: The information is this seminar is condensed in the Event Sports Massage video; bring shorts, sports bra, lubricant, linens and table.


8.5 hours CEUs - Help you and your clients improve their golf game!

Lack of flexibility is the greatest limitation most golfers face and is one of the major causes of golf injuries.Learn how to use self applied massage techniques, stretching, and movement therapy to increase flexibility and thus the ability to perform the golf swing.

Learn the techniques to:

  • Eliminate your golf related low back pain, golfer's elbow, and shoulder pain.
  • Increase your distance and consistency. Reduce the likelihood of a golfing injury.


  • Stretching routine
  • Massage routines to do at home and on the course to keep golf muscles relaxed and pain free
  • Quick warm-up routine to do before playing golf
  • On course techniques to maintain relaxation and flexibility
  • Cool down routine to do after playing golf

Other Courses

Ralph has courses available on:

  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • Business Promotion - How to Grow a Succeful Massage Therapy Practice
  • Cranial Pain - Headache and Face Pain

Ralph can create a special course for your meeting, school, or staff. Call and ask about custom courses—1-888-570-9040