Many massage and bodywork professionals use continuing education to take their careers in different directions. However, for those practitioners of healthy touch who are currently happy with the direction of their careers, continuing education can help to simply enhance skill sets and expand service menus.

If you practice a certain form of deep-tissue massage, for example, and have no desire to go in a different direction with your practice, such as energy work or shiatsu, then you should look into continuing education courses that could support or further your deep-tissue massage skills.

This might mean enrolling in a class that teaches a more advanced level of the techniques you currently use, or perhaps it would entail signing up for continuing education with a focus on deep-tissue work for a particular region of the body or common client complaint.

As a rule, try not to sign up for a continuing education class you are not excited about, for whatever reason. In other words, if you have no desire to learn about reflexology and simply want to continue practicing Swedish massage, then try to sign up for a course that could enhance or support your Swedish massage practice.

Of course, the above scenarios are only examples, and each massage therapist or bodyworker needs to take the time to decide what kinds of continuing education courses are right for them. Those massage therapists and bodyworkers who practice in states or regions where the field is regulated also need to find out whether the governing board has any specific rules or regulations when it comes to continuing education.

In most places where massage therapy is regulated, practitioners are required to earn a certain number of continuing education credits in order to renew their credential to practice, a process that typically takes place every year or two. Besides dictating the number of continuing education credits massage therapists and bodyworkers must earn, governing boards in these regions might also dictate that the classes cover specific topics or be taught by specific teachers.

In such cases, a massage therapist or bodyworker might find himself required to enroll in a continuing education class that he is not excited about, but even in such instances, it may be possible to find a course that holds at least some appeal and still fits the rules and regulations.

It is also important massage therapists and bodyworkers reflect on which method of learning will best suit their own learning styles, as well as their individual schedules. Usually, there are a few different ways to go about taking a continuing education course. These include in-person, on-site classes; online courses that can be “attended” from the comfort of a home or office; or destination continuing education, which often takes place in a condensed time frame and possibly in a faraway place, such as a tropical island, cruise ship or resort.

Again, be sure to invest the time in deciding what kind of continuing education course is the best fit for you. The payoff of this investment can be renewed or increased enthusiasm for your daily hands-on work.

–Brandi Schlossberg

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