It may sound strange, but one of the best ways massage therapists and bodyworkers can beat the dreaded burnout is by taking on one more task: continuing education. When you begin to reach the point of fatigue commonly called burnout, the last thing you may want to do is enroll in a class and add that to your schedule. However, by choosing the right continuing education classes, you could be doing yourself—and your clients—a big favor.

Burning out, for massage therapists and bodyworkers, can mean a number of things and it can have a variety of causes. For example, you might be feeling fatigued and less excited about seeing clients. However, following a long weekend in which you received massage instead of provided it, you may feel back to your old self, ready and waiting to destress your clients.

A more threatening form of burnout involves a deeper level of exhaustion and little to no excitement about the hands-on work you have slated for the day. When massage therapists and bodyworkers “hit the wall” like this, it may take more than a long weekend away to get energized and enthusiastic again.

The causes of burnout can be different for everyone, but there are a few common threads. Not recognizing your own boundaries, in terms of how many clients you can take on each day and how often you need to rest and recharge, is one way to send yourself into burnout.

Another frequent catalyst for fatigue can be improper body mechanics. Yes, you learned how to perform massage using proper body mechanics during your massage education, but poor posture and improper form can creep in over the months and years. This results in more wear and tear to your own body than necessary.

A third culprit that can cause massage therapists and bodyworkers to rethink their careers is boredom. As with any job one does day in and day out for years and years, boredom is a risk for massage therapists and bodyworkers. For example, the techniques you have been performing on stressed clients for the past five years may still be effective, but they may not hold the same satisfaction for you as a hands-on healer.

Fortunately, in most cases of burnout among massage therapists and bodyworkers, continuing education classes can come to the rescue. Simply interacting with peers and colleagues in these classes can begin your rejuvenation, for you will find yourself receiving the support of others in this unique field, those who can empathize with your daily strains and stresses.

Beyond socializing with and supporting your peers, continuing education classes can also target and alleviate the main aspects of your burnout. For example, a refresher course in body mechanics for massage therapists and bodyworkers could reveal a stance that makes all the difference in how you feel at the end of the day.

For those practitioners of healthy touch who may find themselves growing bored with the “tried and true” techniques they learned in school, continuing education opens up a whole new world, full of options when it comes to new skill sets and advanced modalities.

–Brandi Schlossberg

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