Most massage therapists and bodyworkers, at least at the start of their careers, have come across clients who may have needed a type of touch these professional practitioners did not know how to provide. This can be a frustrating experience, as helping clients is the primary reason many of these healers even entered the field of massage therapy.

In other scenarios, the practitioner of healthy touch may not even know he or she is not fully meeting the client’s needs in the session room, and this typically is only due to a lack of advanced education–not because of any personal shortcoming on the part of the practitioner.

After all, it is hard to know if a client presents with a certain type of issue if one has never even been educated that the issue exists in the first place. Fortunately, this is where continuing education comes in, and may be a big part of the reasoning behind why continuing education is a requirement for massage therapists and bodyworkers in so many states and regions that regulate this field.

By continuing to learn more and more about the wide world of touch therapy, massage therapists and bodyworkers can continue to gain more skills and more knowledge about the issues clients might present with, as well as the best ways to help address those issues through the various techniques of healing touch.

For example, there are certain categories of massage and bodywork that may be perfect for providing clients with general stress relief, improved circulation and an overall sense of relaxation and well-being. However, if one of those clients is coming to you with an incredibly tight right shoulder, which has been acting up now and again for years, then the basic relaxation massage likely will not provide that client with the brand of relief he is seeking.

One method of selecting the kinds of continuing education classes you wish to enroll in is by keeping track of the clients you see who have issues that you are not sure how to approach with healing touch. Consider starting a journal in which you make notes of what the client presented with and the type of touch technique you think you may need to learn more about in order to address such conditions in the future.

This can be especially helpful if you already have a loyal client base and will be able to apply your newfound skills to the client who first set you off in a specific direction for continuing education. Even if you never see that one client again, though, there is quite a good chance you will meet others who present with similar complaints over the course of your massage or bodywork career.

If you are unsure what modality might be best to address the kinds of conditions you are seeing, take the time to do a little research on the area of the body and symptoms described by the client. This should help you target the continuing education courses you need to gain the necessary skills.

–Brandi Schlossberg