In the past, when most people thought of massage therapy and bodywork, they may have thought of such words as luxury and stress relief. These days, there is greater awareness about the many benefits of massage therapy and bodywork for both physical and mental health. Touch therapy of all kinds has even begun to put down roots within the medical realm, as practitioners take on paid positions in hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, rehabilitation centers and so on.

That said, there is still a large number of massage therapists and bodyworkers who focus more on the “lighter” side of this work, aiming to provide stress relief and relaxation for their clients, rather than to alleviate any kind of chronic or specific pain or reduce medical symptoms. Among the massage therapists and bodyworkers just out of school, this often serves as the perfect way to begin a long and fruitful career.

However, at some point in each practitioner’s career, there may be a yearning for change. Often, touch therapists find themselves eager to begin working on the more medical side of massage, especially if they come across client after client who could benefit from these advanced massage therapy and bodywork techniques.

Fortunately, in the field of massage therapy and bodywork, there is an extensive offering of continuing education classes, many of which focus on these more medical forms of massage therapy and bodywork. If you are feeling the desire to take on a new, more advanced set of hands-on skills, then take a look at what continuing education has to offer.

Simply looking over the listing of continuing education classes that suit your budget, schedule and your preferred method of learning may be enough to clarify exactly what kind of techniques you would like to learn. Quite a few massage therapists and bodyworkers may already know exactly what they want and need to learn to take their careers to the next level.

For example, if you have clients coming to you with complaints of the pain associated with sciatica, you could be inclined to find a continuing education course that deals specifically with massage therapy or bodywork techniques for easing the symptoms of sciatica. Another example may be clients who present with chronic shoulder pain, which may motivate you to enroll in a continuing education class that will teach you a few new approaches to alleviating this kind of pain.

If you are looking to take your career even deeper into the realm of medical massage and hoping to land a position inside a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic or other such site, then a different set of continuing education classes might be right for you. Consider starting with a continuing education class that covers the general topic of massage therapy or bodywork within the medical setting.

From there, you could continue to define your niche in the realm of medical massage through more advanced continuing education classes, whether that means massage therapy for people with cancer or massage therapy for injury rehabilitation.

–Brandi Schlossberg

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