School History - Federal Way

Cortiva Institute Seattle & Federal Way are the only COMTA accredited massage schools in the state of Washington, with faculty members dedicated to student success and 200 years of combined experience in the bodywork industry.

Brian UttingHeida Brenneke Brian Utting and Heida Brenneke
  • In 1974, Heida Brenneke began teaching massage therapy in her home, moving her school, the Brenneke School of Massage, in 1980 to its first formal location to accommodate the growing student population.
  • In 1982, Brian Utting opened a massage school in his home, naming it Brian Utting Massage School, moving to its first formal location in 1984 due to growth in size and an expanding program which included deep tissue, hydrotherapy and other emerging bodywork modalities.
  • In 1986, Brenneke added the first faculty member, Pat Archer and Utting hired teaching assistants and began offering continuing education, with the addition of Jonathan Vogel and Pat O‚ÄôRourke over the next several years.
  • In 1990, the The Brenneke School received a grant of accreditation from the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA).

As massage therapy licensing formalized in the state of Washington and the number of hours required for licensure increased, the education programs were modified to meet those new requirements. As the field of massage therapy grew and student populations grew, the Brenneke school continued to expand and grow, moving several times until it reached its current location at South Lake Union. From its original requirements of 100 hours in 1974, the program content and requirements have grown to its current 750 and 1000-hour massage therapy programs.

In 2005, the Brenneke School was purchased by Cortiva Institute, a nationwide family of health and wellness schools. The School was renamed Cortiva Institute - Brenneke School of Massage.

In February 2006, Cortiva Institute purchased the Brian Utting School of Massage, located just blocks away from the Brenneke School .

Both Heida Brenneke and Brian Utting helped shape the field and practice of massage therapy in the state of Washington and throughout the industry. Although competitors, there remained mutual respect between the two owners, as Brian Utting had once been a student of Ms. Brenneke's. From their involvement in the late 1980's that helped define massage therapy laws in Washington State to partnerships with Bastyr University that allowed the school to offer cadaver anatomy, Mr. Utting and Ms. Brenneke earned their reputation as respected leaders.

In 2007, Cortiva Institute, the parent company to both schools, decided to close the Cortiva Institute - Brian Utting School and focus its efforts through only one location in the Seattle market. Cortiva Institute - Brenneke School of Massage changed its name to Cortiva Institute - Seattle and drew on the combined 50 plus years of the Brian Utting School and the Brenneke School's operating success, commitment to educational excellence, and community influence to shape its operations in the Seattle area.

In October 2007, Cortiva Institute's massage school in Seattle introduced its modified Diploma programs: the Professional Massage Therapy program (750 clock hours) and Extended Professional Massage Therapy program (1000 clock hours). This curriculum instructs future massage therapists in the art, science and practice of massage while combining, not only the Brenneke and Utting methods, but also the history and experience of all schools within the Cortiva Institute family of schools.

The overwhelming success of Cortiva Institute Seattle has laid the foundation for the establishment of a campus located in Federal Way, Washington. Cortiva Institute Federal Way offers future massage therapists the same robust, hands-on curriculum as its sister campus to the north in a modern campus that is convenient for South Puget Sound students.

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