Over a Century of Experience

Since 1916, Swedish Institute has been focused on delivering quality education and training for graduates to pursue their passion. Not only was the school an early pioneer of offering massage therapy training, it was also a pivotal advocate for the shaping of the massage therapy industry we know today. Throughout its history, Swedish Institute has always maintained its dedication to providing hands-on training, innovative learning and program offerings designed to meet the needs of market demand. The school has graduated thousands of students who have gone on to work in a number of healthcare realms, and who in turn have provided health-enhancing and healing treatments to countless clients and patients across the globe.

Follow the timeline below to see how Swedish Institute has evolved in the last 100 years!

  • 1916
    The school was founded by Captain Theodore A. Melander of Stockholm, Sweden, as the Swedish Gymnastic Institute in New York City. The school focused on “Medical Gymnastics and Massage.”
  • 1922
    NY Giants pitcher, J.W. Scott, attributed his success in the World Series to the treatment he received from the Institute, thus elevating the Institute’s presence in the sports industry. In later years, graduates would go on to incorporate their skills and techniques at sports teams such as the New York Yankees.
  • 1926
    School ownership moved to former graduate and dean Lillian F. Phillips. She would go on direct the school for 40 years.
  • 1940s-50s
    As the education requirements for physiotherapy evolved and the healthcare system began to integrate the field of physical therapy, the employment opportunities for massage therapy graduates began to shift from providing care in hospitals to private practices, gyms, and health clubs. The Institute changed its name to School for Massage and Allied Subjects.
  • 1967
    Patricia J. Eckardt, the niece of Lillian Phillips, assumed ownership and leadership of the school. Eckardt was instrumental in lobbying state officials and to advance legislation that ultimately brought greater legitimacy and respect to the profession. It was in this year that massage became a licensed profession in New York State. Swedish Institute was subsequently reclassified as a professional school.
  • 1981
    Swedish Institute became the first massage school in the U.S. to be granted national accreditation by the accrediting body now known as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • 1983
    The school opened the PH Ling Clinic, the first student massage clinic in the U.S. This advancement provided students a supervised clinical experience treating patients, while offering affordable access to massage therapy to the public.
  • 1984
    The school added Eastern Massage training and Shiatsu to its curriculum to keep up with the growing demand for more holistic training methods.
  • 1990
    The profession’s lobbying efforts succeeded again, as the term Massage Therapy was finally recognized by New York State, and the titles Masseur and Masseuse were replaced by the title Massage Therapist. The initials LMT (Licensed Medical Therapist) became the credentials that demonstrated licensure in Massage Therapy.
  • 1992
    Paula Eckardt became the president and leader of the school. The Massage Therapy program was expanded in sync with the dramatically changing profession, incorporating courses in Sports Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, Reflexology, and Clinical Strategies.
  • 2000
    The school began offering an Associates in Occupational Studies degree program in Massage Therapy.
  • 2001
    In response to the tragic events of 9/11, the school mobilized over 1,400 graduates to provide massage therapy and acupuncture treatments to over 50 different sites including firehouses, police stations and Ground Zero.
  • 2004
    The school developed a certificate program in Personal Training.
  • 2011
    The school begins expanding program offerings to include a number of additional healthcare professional training programs.Surgical Technology (2011)
    Clinical and Administrative Medical Assistant (2012)
    Nursing (2012)
    Medical Billing and Coding (2013)
  • 2015
    The school introduced the iPad® Program, which provides engaging digital course materials and innovative ways for students and instructors to interact, learn and stay connected.
  • Today
    After over 100 years, Swedish Institute is still a vibrant and diverse center of learning. Our current programs range from the holistic to the conventional realms of modern healthcare. We continue to provide practical training and guidance to help our students succeed both in and out of the classroom.