Spicing up your massage or bodywork menu is a great way to build business and stay excited about the daily hands-on work you perform in your practice. Although you may be able to add services to your menu based on your current skill set, continuing education is a great way to learn totally new skills that will expand and refresh your offerings.

For most massage therapists and bodyworkers, continuing education is required in order to keep one’s license to practice current and legal. If you use these credits strategically, you should be able to boost your business and your enthusiasm for bodywork, while at the same time meeting the requirements of your state or local massage board.

Your first step is knowing exactly what kind of continuing education meets the criteria set by your regional massage board for the renewal of your license. It’s likely this governing body has a list of approved providers, and perhaps even required subject matter. It’s crucial to get this information before you begin enrolling in any classes.

Once you know what you need to meet the requirements of the massage board, then you can begin to figure out what meets your personal needs as a massage therapist or bodyworker. Many people in this field may choose to take classes on trendy new techniques that will make their massage menus stand out among the rest.

For example, touch modalities that incorporate heat are especially hot, and if you live in a region that grows cold at least a few months each year, it might be even more appealing to learn such techniques. Look for classes that include instructions on using hot rocks, heat packs or warm towels in your session room.

Another form of continuing education that may stretch the boundaries of your massage menu is instruction on various forms of Asian bodywork. Techniques of the East have steadily grown in popularity, right along with the massage and bodywork field itself, and adding one of these modalities to your tool bag may be a boon to business. Techniques to consider include reiki, shiatsu and Thai massage.

Other types of continuing education may not be aimed directly at expanding your modality menu, but more focused on enhancing your practice as a whole. For instance, if your massage board approves it, you may be able to take a course that teaches you feng shui for your session space, or ways to use aromatherapy in your daily work.

There’s also a more clinical direction you can take with continuing education, using classes to build your skill set in order to work with precise segments of the population, such as athletes, infants, pregnant women or people in the hospital.

Such skills not only expand your massage menu, but they broaden the base of clients you’re trained to serve and can even move your practice outside of the session room—to the local hospital or doctor’s office, the track or gym and other such locations.

Use your continuing education credits wisely to not only maintain your massage license, but also to boost your business and broaden your menu of skills.

—Brandi Schlossberg

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