A true professional in any field is usually “taking the pulse” of his or her career on a regular basis. That means the individual is keeping track of whether business is increasing, decreasing or staying about the same. It also means the professional is taking the time to reflect on his or her own thoughts and feelings about the work, whether they are passionate and energized or bored and fatigued.

Beyond the above, “taking the pulse” of your career can also mean staying on top of any exciting new trends in the field, and considering whether you want to incorporate these into your current business.

Of course, all of this applies to the professional touch therapists working in the realm of massage therapy and bodywork. It is key to stay thoughtful about the work you do each day, to make sure your career continues to grow in a satisfying direction.

A perfect time to do some reflecting on your practice is when it comes time to sign up for continuing education. For most massage therapists and bodyworkers, this is part of the process of renewing one’s license to practice and keeping that credential current.

Essentially, in the majority of states and regions that regulate massage therapy and bodywork, a certain number of continuing education credits are required over the course of each license renewal period.

However, even in those rare states or regions where massage and bodywork are not regulated, or where continuing education may not be part of the renewal process, taking a class in your field is still a great idea, especially if it has been quite some time since you brushed up on education.

As you begin to take a mental inventory of how things are going from every angle in your business, certain needs may begin to become clear. For instance, if you realize that the amount of clients you currently serve has been staying about the same for the last several months or even decreasing, you may decide to enroll in a continuing education course that could help you boost business.

This might be a continuing education course on marketing, geared specifically toward massage therapists and bodyworkers. Such a class would, most likely, educate its students on ways to reach out to the community and make your services—and the important benefits of those services—known to a wider segment of the population.

A continuing education class to bump up business might also be one that teaches you a new hands-on skill or technique that could bring in a new base of clients. For example, if you always have offered a form of relaxation massage, then learning how to provide clients with touch therapy to address specific aches and pains might be the best way to expand your practice and, in turn, expand your client base.

If the number of clients you are seeing is the perfect amount for your practice, then you might next reflect on your feelings about this daily hands-on work. If you can’t honestly say you are passionate and energized about your practice, at least most of the time, then you might think about taking a continuing education class that could rejuvenate those feelings.

As you progress in “taking the pulse” of your massage practice, the type of continuing education that’s right for you likely will make itself known.

–Brandi Schlossberg