Most professionals in the field of massage therapy and bodywork are quite familiar with the definition of the word complementary. Frequently, the whole industry of massage therapy and bodywork is referred to as complementary health care. In essence, this means that the hands-on healing work performed by professional massage therapists and bodyworkers can, in a variety of ways, serve to complement the health of clients.

In this sense of the word, to complement means to add, enhance, round out or complete. However, there is another way in which the word complement can apply to the field of massage therapy and bodywork. Professional practitioners of healthy touch can complement their skill sets by signing up for the right kinds of continuing education classes.

In other words, these continuing education classes, geared specifically toward massage therapists and bodyworkers, can enhance, add to, round out and help complete one’s practice. For example, consider a massage therapist trained in Swedish massage. She may only have this one modality on her practice menu. This practitioner certainly could benefit from completing continuing education courses to complement her skill set.

Even if you are a massage therapist or bodyworker with several diverse techniques in your hands-on tool bag, there is always room to add more, as this ever changing industry is constantly growing and advancing. Fortunately, the list of continuing education offerings and providers seems to grow right along with it.

Choosing the right continuing education class—the one that will offer you the knowledge to best complement your current practice—means taking the time to think about your career, your clients and your future. By taking a close look at your practice, you can best decide the type of technique that will round out and enhance your daily work.

There may, for instance, be several occasions when you have found yourself wishing you knew how to apply a specific technique, such as myofascial release, craniosacral therapy or reiki. Pay attention to the times when your clients could use a supplemental skill set. If one type of modality keeps cropping up again and again, then you may be wise to enroll in the continuing education class that will give you the skills to better serve these clients.

Of course, complementing your practice with continuing education does not have to be all about hands-on techniques and brand new modalities. It may also be about gaining new and necessary knowledge for the more business-oriented aspect of massage therapy and bodywork. This might mean enrolling in a course on accounting, marketing, management, public presentations or some other method of boosting your practice from a business angle.

For those massage therapists and bodyworkers who happen to live in one of the many states or regions where this healing industry is regulated, be sure to find out whether continuing education credits are required for you to secure and maintain your license to practice. If this is the case, you may need to follow certain guidelines, such as a list of approved continuing education topics and providers, in order to count the credits.

–Brandi Schlossberg

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