Most people in the massage field have heard horror stories about burnout, short-lived careers, work-related injuries and other such incidents that have pushed massage therapists out of massage and into other, less physical lines of work. Perhaps you even know one or two once-successful bodyworkers who became physically drained from their daily practice or developed an injury due to the days spent doing massage after massage.
   It’s no secret that the type of work you do as a manual therapist requires strength and stamina. After all, massage therapists aren’t simply sitting at a desk all day—they are on their feet, using many of their muscles repetitively. Working out the aches and pains in another person’s body requires intensive use of not only the arms and hands, but also nearly every other body part as well, from legs to back to shoulders.
   Due to the physical nature of massage therapy and the lessons learned from those who have gone before us, it is now well known that body mechanics play an integral role in the longevity and success of one’s massage career. Proper body mechanics can help stave off burnout, prevent injury, keep energy levels up and increase the amount of sessions you are able to give.
   Although it’s highly likely you had at least one, if not several, instructors who taught you the importance of body mechanics throughout massage school, this is one lesson you can’t review often enough. It’s incredibly helpful to be reminded of proper body mechanics in all facets of massage therapy, and enrolling in a continuing education course on this topic can be the perfect refresher.
   As you earn the continuing education credits necessary to keep your credentials current, you can also be gaining the knowledge necessary to keep your career running strong. A continuing education course on body mechanics should aim to help you work smarter instead of harder.
   A high-quality continuing education class on body mechanics will likely involve instruction on ways to employ good body mechanics at the massage table, as well as ways to blend self-care techniques into your daily life. In addition, postural patterns may be assessed in order to improve the massage therapist’s body alignment and increase his or her body awareness. Such workshops may also promote movement opportunities for the massage therapist throughout each bodywork session, as well as in day-to-day living.
   It’s a good idea for both new and established massage therapist to receive regular reminders of the importance of proper body mechanics. Similar to bad posture, it is all too easy to slip back into old habits if therapists do not remain aware of how they are using their bodies.
   However, before you enroll in continuing education that covers proper body mechanics, be sure to check in with your state or local board of massage, to be sure the specific course meets the requirements necessary to keep your credential current. If possible, you should also do a bit of background research on the instructor or company offering the class, perhaps talking to former students. In this way, you will increase your chances of receiving the highest quality continuing education, while helping keep your most valuable career asset—your body—in top shape.

—Brandi Schlossberg