These days, especially with the advent and acceptance of online learning, education is big business. This is good news for people who would like to learn a new skill or further enhance their current knowledge in nearly any area. In the realm of massage therapy and bodywork, the widespread availability of continuing education on all kinds of relevant topics means more options for the professional touch therapist.

When most people think about massage and bodywork, they rightly think of hands-on work to relieve aches and pains or to help people relax and unwind. Very few people may think of the business side of massage and bodywork, but for quite a few people in this industry, it’s a big part of running a practice, whether solo or in conjunction others.

One great way to tap into the abundance of available education is to take classes to enhance your business skills. Get a handle on the aspects of running your daily practice that may seem daunting at first, such as accounting, scheduling, computer programs, marketing and more.

In some cases, taking classes on the business side of massage and bodywork may even count toward continuing-education credits, which often are required in order to renew one’s license to practice in places where touch therapy is regulated.

If you live in an area where massage and bodywork are governed, you most likely know it. Get all the details on what is necessary in order to keep your credential current. Find out how often you have to renew your license and exactly what is required to do so. There’s a good chance you’ll need a specific number of continuing-education credits in order to renew.

Check to see if there are certain topics that need to be covered in these classes, such as ethics or sanitation procedures, or if your state or region has a list of approved providers of continuing education. If so, you’ll need to be sure to stick to the rules if you want your class hours to count toward renewing your massage or bodywork license.

Fortunately, classes on business topics often count toward this continuing education. If you happen to live in a region where massage and bodywork are not regulated, then the type of continuing education you choose to take is strictly up to you.

In terms of enhancing your business knowledge as it applies to your daily practice, consider taking a course on such a topic as accounting procedures. You may even be able to take a class on a certain brand of accounting software, which will enable you to input payments, cut paychecks if necessary, calculate business deductions and streamline the tax process.

Another option for touch therapists looking to brush up their business skills might be a marketing class, where students can learn how best to advertise their skills in massage and bodywork. Such a course might cover such topics as building a Web site, designing brochures and building a name within the community.

—Brandi Schlossberg