Never stop learning. That is great advice for anyone who wishes to continue growing in a positive direction, even if he or she has long since graduated from massage or bodywork school. An open attitude toward life, attempting to learn the lesson that comes from nearly every experience, good or bad, tends to help people go with the flow and stay more upbeat day in and day out.

Beyond this casual form of life learning, there also are many formal courses a massage therapist or bodywork may choose to enroll in to keep enthusiasm for the field of touch therapy alive and well. Continuing education also can help massage therapists and bodyworkers build better businesses and earn more income. Another bonus to taking courses in bodywork or massage is continuing-education credits can count toward keeping your credential current, if you happen to live in a state or region where the field of touch therapy is regulated in such a way.

If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to enrolling in continuing-education classes, you can start by reflecting on the most common client needs. For example, if many of your clients present with neck pain, you may wish to sign up for a class on massage therapy or bodywork for neck pain, to make sure you are serving your clients to the best of your ability.

A continuing-education class on neck pain might also include information on headaches, as the two are frequently intertwined. With such a course, you would likely learn the common causes and different kinds of headaches and neck pain, as well as ways to help alleviate these conditions in clients.

If clients with low-back pain and pelvic pain seem to show up on your table quite regularly, then perhaps consider a continuing-education class that covers touch techniques for these two areas of the body. In such a course, you should learn about the causes of nonspecific back pain and pelvic dysfunction, as well as assessment strategies, hands-on skills, benefits and contraindications, and more.

If you happen to provide chair massage in a corporate environment—or hope to in the future—you may wish to enroll in a continuing-education class that might enhance the services you provide in the office environment. For example, a course on massage or bodywork for carpal tunnel syndrome might be a good choice. In this class, it’s likely you would learn the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, how best to help ease this condition with hands-on healing and how to help people prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

As you can see, reflecting on the needs of your clients and type of population you serve should help steer you in the right direction for continuing education. By building on your existing skills to provide the best possible session of massage therapy or bodywork, you are building on your business and your client base.

—Brandi Schlossberg