Like so many other fields that deal with public health and wellness, massage therapists and bodyworkers are required to continually renew their licenses and prove their commitment to the work by completing continuing education courses.

As enthusiastic hands-on healers, most practitioners are excited by the prospect of enhancing their skills and expanding their knowledge base. Although checking off the requirements to renew one’s license may seem a bit cumbersome, the end result is always worth the effort, especially if the continuing education classes can add to your “tool bag” and bottom line.

Before you select a continuing education course, it’s important to find out what your state or local massage board requires, in terms of the provider, the number of hours and other such details. Once you’re aware of the requirements, you can go about selecting continuing education that will not only fit the criteria for renewing your credential, but will also fulfill your own expectations.

One realm of continuing education to consider is infant massage. This technique has consistently grown in popularity, as the research on the benefits of healthy touch for infants is strong. An array of published, peer-reviewed studies report the efficacy of massage for infants, citing benefits that range from weight gain and responsiveness to shorter hospital stays and less crying.

These are but a few of the positive results seen in the rich pool of research that has been conducted on infant massage. The studies have focused on healthy infants, as well as preterm infants and babies born with a variety of illnesses.

If you choose to dip into the field of infant massage by enrolling in a continuing education course focused on this skill, then you will most likely be exposed to the full range of scientific reports during an introductory course.

A foundational course in infant massage may also introduce students to the variety of ways in which such skills may be applied, whether on a healthy baby or an infant with medical issues.

Obviously, the strokes and pressure involved in infant massage will be much shorter and lighter than massage for adult clients, and there are several other new approaches to be learned when massaging these youngest of humans. From the positioning of the infant throughout the massage to the type of lubricant safest to use, your continuing education course in infant massage will likely cover all of these basics.

It may take a number of these continuing education classes until you are comfortable with this new skill set and are ready to integrate it into your daily working world. With the necessary knowledge of infant massage, there are several different directions a massage therapist may choose to go.

For example, you may network with local hospitals to earn a position applying infant massage to preterm infants who are in dire need of a fast and healthy weight gain. Another popular route is to become a teacher of infant massage, instructing new mothers on how to bond with their babies through the universal language of touch.

—Brandi Schlossberg

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