In a world where “going green” tends to be tied to making more “green,” the concept of locally grown or produced products can be good for business. For instance, people seem to want fruit and vegetables that are seasonal—for greater freshness. An even better buy in today’s eco-friendly market would be seasonal produce grown locally and even organically, if possible.

This whole notion of getting back to basics, relying on and taking pride in what comes from one’s own region, is gaining momentum, and it does have applications in the massage therapy and bodywork world. After all, there’s a certain authenticity and appeal that seems to stem from working with the products and “roots” of your own region.

A massage therapist or bodyworker living and working in the Southwestern U.S., in such a place as New Mexico or Arizona, for example, might want to pull from local plants of the area, not to mention any regional bodywork traditions.

This might mean using massage products that contain native ingredients, such as a cactus that grows abundantly in the area or various flowers one sees frequently in the region. Giving a local flair to your bodywork may also mean weaving in a few traditional hands-on skills practiced by the indigenous people of that area.

Putting a regional spin on your massage or bodywork practice can be good for business, and one great way to go about doing this is by signing up for a continuing education class that will help you in this endeavor.

First, make sure you know exactly what your state or local massage board requires, in terms of what type of continuing education is accepted when it comes to renewing your license or credential to practice.

Once you know the facts, you can sign up for continuing education that will not only help you maintain your credential, but also help you add a more local, authentic feel to your daily practice.

The basis of such classes could vary. For instance, you might find one that generally covers this topic for practitioners in your region, whether it be the Southwestern U.S., Pacific Northwest or the bayou country of the Gulf Coast.

Perhaps the course will introduce students to the different types of bodywork practiced by native tribes who have lived in these areas, or it might focus more on native plants that can be used in one’s daily practice, from aromas and massage creams to flower arrangements and even linens.

Another roots-based approach to bodywork might be looking into your own background, rather than the history of your geographic location, and taking any applicable continuing education courses.

For example, if much of your family is from Hawaii, perhaps you should sign up for continuing education that teaches lomi lomi, and then tout the fact you’re practicing your own native bodywork.

If you come from an Asian background, to use yet another example, you might seek continuing education that teaches a skill, such as Thai massage, shiatsu or reiki.

—Brandi Schlossberg

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