If you live in a state or region where massage therapy and bodywork are regulated, then chances are you are required to earn a certain amount of continuing education credits during each license renewal period.

If this is the case, try not to view continuing education as a hassle or chore to be crossed off your list as quickly as possible. There are good reasons for the fact that touch therapists are required to keep up with such classes. Among those massage therapists and bodyworkers who choose to embrace it, continuing education opens a world of perks and opportunities.

For starters, taking a continuing education course is one of the best ways to learn a brand-new skill. If you are looking to add a new hands-on technique to your tool kit, try to find a continuing education course that focuses on your desired skill. For example, you may have a thriving practice based on Swedish massage, but wish to incorporate deeper work for clients with specific injuries or complaints.

In this case, you might want to search for a continuing education class on the topic of sports massage, or perhaps a course that focuses on touch therapy for a certain area of the body, such as the neck or shoulders.

There is such an array of continuing education available to massage therapists and bodyworkers that it is difficult to give a representative list of examples. There seem to be continuing education classes on nearly every modality, from shiatsu and Thai massage to bodywork for carpal tunnel syndrome and massage for migraines.

You have to know your practice and your own interests quite well, then you can properly select from the huge list of options when it comes to enrolling in continuing education to learn a new hands-on skill.

You also need to know the exact requirements for your state or region when it comes to earning continuing education credits. Find out if there are certain classes you have to take, or if you have flexibility when it comes to making those choices.

Besides the possibility of gaining a new skill, taking continuing education classes also allows massage therapists and bodyworkers to get out of the session room and interact with colleagues. It is important to get to know your peers and have a chance to discuss your daily work, for this type of networking can be healthy for both you and your business.

After taking a few continuing education classes, you may find yourself with not only quite a few new ideas, but also quite a few new friends. In a field where so much of the work is done in near silence, alone with a client in your quiet and peaceful session room, getting out and getting to know your fellow touch therapists can be an amazing experience.

Of course, many of today’s continuing education classes actually are conducted online, in which case you may be “attending” these courses from the comfort of your own home or office. In such cases, there still is an opportunity to interact with other bodyworkers, even if it’s in a chat room or forum.

–Brandi Schlossberg