The BTI Difference

Founded in 1983, Body Therapy Institute was the first school to offer professional massage training in the Carolinas. Today, it is regarded as one of the leading massage therapy schools in the country. BTI is a small, independently-owned institution that has earned a reputation for innovation and educational excellence. Throughout a history spanning three decades, the school has consistently produced massage therapists who excel in their chosen career paths.

In this section, we will highlight the most important aspects and attributes that define this school and that make The BTI Difference. This is what distinguishes us from the rest.

  • Experience and Visionary Leadership

    BTI has been providing massage therapy training for more than 30 years, and has operated under the same ownership. Founder and Co-director Rick Rosen is a specialist in the mind-body relationship and is respected authority on massage therapy regulation who has worked to establish professional standards on both state and national levels. Co-director Carey Smith is a leader and pioneer in the development of teacher training for the massage therapy profession. As a husband-and-wife team, they have united their diverse backgrounds in therapy, education, somatics and the arts to create a visionary model for learning.

  • Quality over Quantity

    We have consciously chosen to operate BTI at a small scale, so that we can provide a high level of personal attention and quality training to our students. This is of prime importance to us because BTI is more than a business enterprise – it’s our life’s work. We don’t endeavor to be the biggest massage school around – just the best. Our joy comes in working with students as they achieve their goals and dreams, and in supporting them as they return to their communities to share their new skills, knowledge and awareness in so many ways.

  • Our Highly-trained Faculty

    BTI has one of the most rigorous training requirements of any massage school in the country for its instructional staff. Lead instructors have completed The Spirit of Learning® – the 100-hour teacher certification program led by Carey Smith – and have progressed through a three-level teaching assistant and mentorship program. Our faculty members are all successful therapists with many years of clinical experience, post-graduate specialty training, and a dedication to the educational model we hold at BTI.

  • Spectacular Natural Setting

    Place matters. Our beautiful campus at South Wind Farm in the heart of the North Carolina Piedmont features meadows, ponds, woodlands and an abundance of native wildlife. BTI is one of the few massage schools in the country that is based in a natural environment. We are fortunate to offer our educational programs in this ideal location for the process of learning and healing. To learn more about the “critters” who live here, you can check out A Field Guide to South Wind Farm.

  • Sanctuary in a Stressful World

    BTI provides an oasis of quietude and beauty for our students and guests. We are committed to maintaining this campus as a refuge from the noise, overcrowding and stresses of everyday life. Whether you are here for a one-day workshop or a year-long training, you’ll be nourished, inspired and restored at South Wind Farm.

  • Learning that Changes Lives

    When you study massage therapy at BTI, you’ll gain new information and insights that will change your life, AND the lives of those you touch. Our training programs go far beyond the development of vocational skills; students consistently let us know that they experience profound transformation through their time at BTI. You can read what some of our graduates have shared about their personal and professional evolution on the Testimonials page.

  • An Integrative Curriculum

    Our Massage Therapy Diploma Program is based on a synthesis of Western and Eastern bodywork traditions. We endeavor to balance the technical with the artistic… the scientific with the spiritual… the intellectual with the intuitive… and the ancient with the modern. This integrative curriculum allows our students to gain a comprehensive understanding of the therapeutic experience as they develop a high degree of professional skill and sensitivity.

  • The Whole-Person Model

    We work within a therapeutic model that acknowledges the inner wisdom, or innate intelligence, of every individual. This deep level of knowing is stored within the body along with all our life experiences – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The whole-person approach presented at BTI unlocks the potential for healing on all these levels as we work directly with the physical body. In this way, massage therapy is much more than the treatment of symptoms or relief of discomfort – it is an opportunity to bring both life-enhancing and life-negating patterns to conscious awareness for the purpose of transformation.

  • A Solid Foundation

    The Diploma Program gives students a solid foundation for beginning a professional practice in the field of massage therapy. The curriculum is designed so that all courses are coordinated with one another, and are delivered in a carefully-organized sequence. As an example, students explore the muscles and bones for one region of the body in Anatomy class – in conjunction with learning the corresponding hands-on techniques in their Massage Therapy class. This produces a high level of competency, and prepares our graduates for being able to work in a wide variety of treatment settings.

  • Emphasis on Body Mechanics

    Our school is renowned for The Way of Ease®, the system of teaching optimal body mechanics developed by Co-director Rick Rosen. This is one of the most essential aspects of massage therapy, as students learn how to use their bodies and energetic resources in the most efficient manner. Mastering these principles allows our students and graduates to deliver the most effective treatments. It also helps to protect them from the pain and injury that is commonplace among therapists who didn’t get the proper training.

  • Healing Attitudes

    As our students learn hands-on techniques and gain knowledge about the structure and function of the body, they also develop the inner resources that make massage therapy a healing experience for both client and therapist. Our program focuses on key elements such as Presence, Mindfulness, Intention, and Unconditional Positive Regard.

  • A Somatic Approach to Massage Therapy

    From the ancient Greek word soma, the term “Somatics” embraces a wide range of disciplines that focus on the “Lived Body”. This is the body of sensation, feelings, aspirations and actions. In our Diploma Program, students study the Core Somatic Functions of Breath Cycle, Center, Ground and Contact. They also learn to use somatic awareness as an important skill in the process of embodiment – both for themselves and their clients.

  • A Track Record of Success

    We have a thorough admissions process, and select candidates for the Diploma Program who have the resources and motivation to succeed in the field. On average, 90% of our students complete their training at BTI. And over the past seven years, 96% of our grads passed their national massage licensing examination on the first try. (This compares with a current national average pass rate of just 70% for the MBLEx.)

  • A Reputation for Great Massage

    On our annual surveys of employers who hire our graduates, 100% indicate that they are either Very Satisfied or Extremely Satisfied with their performance. Likewise, many clients who receive massage therapy from BTI graduates say it’s the best massage they’ve ever had. Even in our Student Massage Clinic, 100% of clients say they would return for another treatment, and would refer their friends as well.

  • COMTA Accreditation

    Accreditation is a rigorous process that requires a school to demonstrate compliance with operational and educational standards. In 1999, BTI was the first school in the Carolinas to be accredited by The Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation, and is one of fewer than 100 massage schools that have earned this status. COMTA is the only accrediting commission that has established curriculum guidelines for massage education.

  • A Passionate Commitment to the Healing Arts

    We are an institution that focuses exclusively on the healing arts, in their many forms. Massage therapy training is our centerpiece, and we offer a wide range of continuing education workshops and advanced trainings that support the careers of hands-on therapists and other health care providers. We honor the lineage of these venerable healing arts, and work to preserve their integrity as we participate in the evolution of touch therapy in the 21st century.


Discover this “Jewel of a School” for yourself. Call 919-663-3111 or fill out our request form today to get a FREE 20-page information catalog about Massage Therapy, BTI and its programs. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have and schedule a campus tour.