At certain times, the best strategy may be to know exactly where you want to go and exactly how to get there. During other times, however, the most fruitful plan may be to have no plan at all and simply go where your whims and opportunities take you. In the world of continuing education for professional massage therapists and bodyworkers, both of these methods can hold value.

The first strategy—to know exactly where you want to go and exactly how to get there—can be applied to continuing education in several ways. First of all, the large number of professional massage therapists and bodyworkers who work in regions where the field of touch therapy is regulated may be required to take a specific continuing education class or to choose from among a list of approved continuing education classes.

In these cases, practitioners obviously know exactly where they need to go and how to get there. In other words, these practitioners are made aware of what kind of continuing education class or classes they will need to take in order to maintain their rights to practice in that region.

A second, less-restricted version of this first strategy would involve those touch therapists who have a specific plan for their career paths and are confident in the direction of that plan. For example, a massage therapist may know she wishes to move her career in the direction of providing touch therapy for hospital patients. Therefore, this practitioner knows exactly what kind of continuing education classes she is looking for—classes all about providing massage therapy in the medical setting.

As for having no plan or direction at all when it comes to picking your next continuing education class, this can be just as beneficial as the first strategy. In a sense, this method of taking continuing education courses could be viewed as an in-depth exploration of the broad and diverse field of massage therapy and bodywork. With each continuing education class, one would get a taste of another facet of the field.

For example, a bodyworker might feel drawn to an upcoming continuing education class on basic shiatsu. Even though this bodyworker has never practiced shiatsu and does not know whether he will enjoy it, he may decide to follow his whim and take the opportunity to learn a bit more about shiatsu via this beginner’s continuing education course.

In this way, the bodyworker gets a good feel for what shiatsu is about, while earning continuing education credits at the same time. He may then decide to take the next level continuing education class on shiatsu and, perhaps, switch over to the first strategy—using continuing education in a focused manner in order to shape his practice to include shiatsu.

Of course, the bodyworker may also find that, after completing the continuing education course, shiatsu does not appeal to him at this point in his career. In this case, the continuing experience is still a beneficial one, due to the continuing education credits he learned and the insight he gained into his own preferences within the realm of touch therapy.

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