Taking the time to find, enroll in and complete courses in continuing education may at first feel like a chore to the busy massage therapist or bodyworker. However, once the ball is rolling, these classes typically turn out to be great ways to refresh one’s hands-on skills and boost enthusiasm for the field of healthy touch.

Most massage therapists and bodyworkers take continuing education classes in an effort to maintain their professional credentials. Most states and professional organizations require touch therapists keep up on continuing education in order to practice legally. Even in those few areas where continuing education is not a requirement, it remains a good idea for a successful career.

One of the best aspects of continuing education is it can refresh the skills of the massage therapist or bodyworker, thereby refreshing his or her daily practice. Once out of massage school, working one-on-one with clients in a quiet session room may at times prove fairly isolating. Unless one works in a spa or large practice office, where fellow bodyworkers commonly share experiences and information, it may be tough to gain new perspectives on the work at hand.

This is where continuing education can prove quite valuable, as it offers touch practitioners a chance to get out of the session room and into discussions with mentors and peers. In fact, there are many continuing education courses designed specifically as refreshers for various skill sets.

Not only do students in these classes have a chance to socialize, debate and discuss with fellow massage therapists, but they also are there to learn from a touch teacher. These instructors often provide basic refreshers and update students on any trends or new angles that may have come to light since they graduated from massage school.

These refresher courses come in all sorts of forms, covering topics from deep-tissue massage to body mechanics to modern ethics. Even if you’ve been practicing for years and feel content with your current skill set, you may be surprised at a few of the small, yet important, details you may have forgotten, or the new and intriguing ideas and techniques that may be out there now.

As you begin your search for a continuing education class that will offer just the right amount of refreshment, you may wish to start by checking in with your local massage board or professional organization. If you practice in an area where touch therapy is regulated, you will want to find out exactly what the requirements are for a continuing education course that will count toward renewing and maintaining your license to practice.

With such details squared away, you can then begin to investigate course offerings to find the best continuing education class for your own personal style and goals. You may choose to attend this class in person or via the Internet, depending on your schedule, location and educational needs.

If possible, find out about the instructor’s background and expertise before enrolling, and speak to former students to find out what they gained from the class.

—Brandi Schlossberg