Ruthann Hobbs founded the Alexandria School of Scientific Therapeutics, Inc. (ASSTI), with the help of her husband, Herb, in 1982, in answer to her own complaints about standards in alternative health education.
After studying at a number of schools, Ruthann came to believe that she could improve standards for education and create a school that was supportive of its students and covered a wide range of health philosophies.
Her interest in alternative health care started when she took a course in foot Reflexology with the International Institute of Reflexology in 1969. She became a certified Reflexologist in 1972. After experiencing the healing effects of Reflexology, Ruthann decided she wanted to pursue her studies into alternative health practices, so she joined the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and enrolled in the Ruthann Hobbs Natural Health Research Society of Fort Wayne where she studied under the late Dr. William McClain. After graduation in 1971, she became a registered massage therapist.
Ruthann continued to seek out whatever was available in alternative health education at the time and enrolled in the Anderson School of Scientific Massage in Princeton, IL, where she graduated in 1977. The following year, she graduated from the William L. McClain School of Massage Myopathy and Multi-Therapy (later known as the Graham-McClain School) in Marion, IN.
By then, Ruthann was familiar with the educational standards in alternative health education and had decided that she wanted to become an Instructor. She believed that she could raise the standards to provide more well-rounded coursework, as well as making the educational experience one that was wholesome, comfortable, enjoyable and beneficial for the students. So she embarked on an intensive one year study program under the AMTA and underwent eight days of stringent testing in Kinnewick, Washington, under the AMTA’s national education director, Ruth Williams. She received her certified instructorship in 1979.
Later that year, Ruthann was selected by Therese C. Pfrimmer to attend an intensive training course in Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy® in Goderich, Ontario. Although she had already planned to go to the Kneipp Clinic in Wiesbaden, West Germany, to study advanced hydrotherapy with members of the Ontario Massage Therapy Association, she quickly rearranged her schedule to go to Canada. She had been hearing about the remarkable results Pfrimmer was getting when using her method on those who had been diagnosed with irreversible, crippling conditions, and it was nearly impossible to gain admission to the Pfrimmer School. Pfrimmer accepted only a few students for each class, which she personally instructed.
Ruthann later found herself assisting in the formation of the International Association of Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapists (IAPDMT) and was one of four women selected to become Instructors of the technique. She is Honorary Chairperson for life of the IAPDMT board of directors and is the only Master Instructor still teaching. She founded the Pfrimmer Institute of Indiana, Inc., trained its faculty, and teaches Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy® as a post-graduate course at ASSTI.
Ruthann studied with another Master in 1981 when she was personally instructed by Dr. Bernard Jensen of Escondido, CA. A leading natural hygienist, Jensen pioneered the technique of iridology which is now used by herbalists around the world. Students at ASSTI receive an introduction to iridology and are able to see how in-depth readings of the eyes are done with the use of an iridology camera which photographs the iris.
By this time, Ruthann had gained an extensive background in alternative health therapies and had been practicing out of her home in Alexandria for nearly 10 years. Because of pressures from the medical establishment and stories of harassment of natural hygienists and alternative health therapists by law enforcement agencies, she was becoming increasingly concerned about protecting her clients, her students and herself. She decided that it was vital for herself and her students to have a background in emergency medicine, and she became an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) licensed by the State of Indiana. She began to require her students to have an EMT diploma prior to their graduation from ASSTI.
Her decision to impose this requirement was considered by many at the time to be unreasonable and extreme, but she felt it was essential that therapists know how to handle emergency medical situations should they arise while working with clients. She later revised her requirement to allow the less-extensive Basic Life Support training instead, which includes CPR certification. This has since become a standard requirement for most reputable massage therapy schools in the country and is now taught as part of the standard undergraduate curriculum at ASSTI.
Ruthann realized her dream of studying in Austria in 1985 when she went to the Dr. Vodder-Schule Walschee to study Dr. Emil Vodder’s pioneering method of manual lymphatic drainage. She studied personally with the renowned Hildegard Whittlinger and became certified in the technique. She later became a member of the North American Vodder Association of Lymphatic Therapy. Students at ASSTI receive an introduction to (MLD) Manual lymph drainage therapy as part of the under- graduate course work.
Ruthann has continued to pursue her own education with zeal. She has studied Sports Massage and Muscular Kinetics with Jack Meagher and was certified by the American Institute of Esthetics in Huntington Beach, CA in 1985 as an Esthetian. She has studied Contact Healing, Polarity Therapy, Applied Kinesiology, Positional Release, Myofascial Release, and abuse issues.
She has studied CranioSacral Therapy and Somato Emotional Release with the Upledger Institute and is now studying advanced CranioSacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation.
For many years, Ruthann was quite active in the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and held a number of national offices, including Eastern District Director and member of the National Education and Public Relations committees. She chaired the National Law and Legislation Committee for both state and national AMTAs, and was head of the Certified Instructors program. She held a number of offices in the Indiana chapter of the AMTA, including president, and was given an honorary award in 1978 by the state chapter for her many years of service.
Her zest for learning and for helping others keeps her abreast of leading edge techniques in the alternative health care field. Because of this commitment to her clients and to her students, the Alexandria School has set the standard for alternative health care education throughout Indiana and in the Midwest.