Professional massage therapists and bodyworkers may find it helpful to view each continuing education class they take as a chance to explore the broad field of touch therapy. By viewing continuing education from this angle, the massage therapist or bodyworker may become more aware of how a particular modality, technique or philosophy could benefit his or her career, practice and clients.

When continuing education is viewed simply as a chore to be completed or a rung on a ladder to be climbed, the massage therapist or bodyworker may miss out on knowledge or experience that could have taken his or her career in a whole new direction, or at least offered some type of improvement. In other words, the practitioner could be so focused on just getting through the continuing education course that he or she fails to see the big picture.

The “big picture,” when it comes to continuing education classes, may mean a number of different things. In general, however, it means keeping one’s eyes wide open to the all the ways in which a particular continuing education class might be beneficial—whether those benefits apply to one’s client base, bottom line, sense of satisfaction or some other aspect of practice.

Basically, massage therapists and bodyworkers are advised to stay mindful and curious throughout each continuing education experience. This applies even if, and perhaps especially if, the continuing education class does not appeal to you at first, which may be the case for those practitioners who are required to take a specific continuing education class in order to maintain their license to practice.

For example, you may be required to complete a continuing education class on ethics for massage therapists and bodyworkers. At first, this continuing class may seem somewhat redundant for those massage therapists and bodyworkers who feel they are up to speed on their ethics. By staying open to the knowledge offered in this continuing education class, however, practitioners may find themselves picking up valuable new information or perspectives on the ethics that guide a successful practice.

Another great way to use any continuing education experience to benefit you and your practice is by monitoring your own thoughts and feelings during a continuing education class. This is a wonderful way to access your own “inner compass” in terms of exploring massage therapy and bodywork and figuring out which direction you would like to take with your career.

For instance, a massage therapist may choose to enroll in a continuing education class that teaches techniques specific to the conditions and issues common among athletes, whether professional or amateur. Perhaps the massage therapist chose to take this continuing education class because he was intrigued by the notion of working with this segment of the population and helping athletic clients stay active and healthy.

During the continuing education course, if the massage therapist pays attention to his thoughts and feelings, he should be able to figure out if this indeed may be the direction he wants to go with his practice.