Similar to the field of culinary arts, fitness training and several other broad-based industries, it seems there are so many niches and specialties that compose the realm of massage therapy and bodywork. Once you have completed a basic, foundational education in the field, there are nearly no limits on where to go from there, as new modalities and progressive techniques seem to appear all the time.

This is great news for people who choose to pursue the career path of professional touch therapist. It means there is never any reason to feel stuck or bored in your daily practice. If the novelty of your most-used technique begins to wear off and your enthusiasm for using it on your clients is beginning to wane, you can simply seek new techniques to add to your tool box of healing hands-on skills.

The way to do this is through continuing education classes, and there are plenty for massage therapists and bodyworkers to choose from, no matter where one’s practice is based. The creators and providers of these courses know the field of massage and bodywork is not a static entity. It is fluid and changing, ever progressing and transforming in an effort to offer clients the best possible results, and to offer touch practitioners the most well-honed and advanced tools of the trade.

In fact, continuing education is so important to an industry such as massage that it is a requirement in most states and areas that regulate the industry. In these places, which represent the majority, massage therapists and bodyworkers must complete a certain number of continuing education credits in order to renew and maintain their massage credential.

Earning continuing education credits is not a “one and done” chore, either. It is something professional massage therapists and bodyworkers in those regulated regions do every time their massage license needs to be renewed, which typically takes place every one or two years.

In addition, there are massage therapists and bodyworkers who take continuing education credits not simply to maintain their massage credentials, but because they truly want to learn new skills in the amazing arena of healthy touch.

In terms of deciding what type of continuing education courses you want to take, the variety of classes available means you should be able to find those teachers and topics geared toward your specific goals.

For example, if you would like to bring your healing hands into the medical setting, to provide massage to pregnant women, there are quite a few continuing education courses that cover this specialty.

Perhaps you want to learn a touch technique that is totally different from anything you have done before, such as Ashiatsu or Watsu. Fortunately, there are continuing education classes out there that provide certification in these niches as well.

Deciding where to go in a career field that seems forever expanding and transforming is a personal journey. Massage therapists and bodyworkers can be grateful to be working in an arena that affords so much growth.

–Brandi Schlossberg

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