Tough economic times have affected nearly every industry, and the field of massage therapy and bodywork is no exception. There’s a good chance your practice has been affected by the lack of disposable income among most people these days. If this is the case, you may be wondering what you can do to get back on track and thrive.

At such times, the opportunity to enroll in continuing education courses can be a blessing. Although most massage therapists and bodyworkers are required to complete a certain amount of continuing education in order to maintain their credentials, these classes can be about much more than checking a renewal requirement off the list.

These classes can serve as a way to boost your business and enhance your career as a massage therapist or bodyworker. For example, if you’re content with your daily hands-on work and simply want to see more clients stroll through the door, you might consider a continuing education class on marketing.

Such a course could teach you to reach out to potential clients in your community, whether via advertising, volunteer work, local presentations, press releases, brochures or other avenues.

Of course, it’s important to look into the types of continuing education classes your state or local governing board has approved, so you can be working toward maintaining your massage credential while at the same time building your business.

If you feel you already have the marketing component of your massage practice covered, then perhaps consider continuing education that focuses on a skill that would add value to your daily work and appeal to more clients.

A class on hot stone massage, for example, might be perfect for those practitioners who live in regions where the weather is chilly for a good portion of the year. Find out how many continuing education courses you would need before you could practice this form of bodywork professionally, and set a schedule to get it done.

Learning a new skill or a different take on massage will not only allow you to add a new service to your massage or bodywork menu and appeal to a broader base of clients, but it also may help you stay excited about your daily hands-on work. All of these perks can add up to a better bottom line as well.

If you are worried about squeezing your continuing education courses into your schedule, there’s no need to sacrifice clients for classes or vice versa. If you can’t find a place nearby that offers the course you want and you can’t find the time or money to take the class in a distant location, there’s always the Internet.

Fortunately, online classes have gained a lot of credibility with recent technological advances, so there’s a good chance you can find a continuing education class offered via the Internet that will meet your needs and the requirements of your massage board.

Whether you choose to enroll in an online course or take a continuing education class in person, do a bit of background research on the class in order to get the most bang for your buck.

—Brandi Schlossberg