For every massage or bodywork practitioner who lives in an area where massage therapy is regulated, there typically is a mandatory requirement for continuing education in order to renew one’s license or certification to practice legally.

This is certainly not to be seen as a chore to be put off or avoided until the last minute. Successful massage therapists know continuing education is not a task to be checked off a list, but instead is an opportunity to learn and grow in a manner that will benefit them, their clients and the bottom line of their business.

Viewed from this positive perspective, continuing education takes on a whole new meaning, for it may be the route you choose to enhance or change your career subtly or even immensely. The decisions you make regarding which continuing education courses to enroll in can steer the wheel of your career as a massage therapist or bodyworker, pushing you into waters you’ve always wanted to explore.

For example, you may practice relaxation massage on a regular basis, helping clients in your community to ease their stresses and diminish aches and pains. However, part of you may wish to bring your skills into a hospital setting, where your skills would benefit patients who are depressed or in pain due to various medical conditions.

In this case, you would want to explore continuing education on massage therapy in the hospital setting. Such a course would likely focus on considerations and precautions regarding medical devices, positioning and pressure, as well as the best methods of interaction with patients, as well as hospital staff.

It’s important to remember continuing education often allows bodyworkers to get quite specific with new skills, so if there is a certain area of hospital massage you’re especially interested, it would benefit you to enroll in that kind of course, rather than a general hospital massage class.

Massage for patients with different kinds of cancer, massage for postoperative patients, bodywork for pregnant women or their newborn babies, and touch therapy as an adjunct to psychiatry or psychotherapy are a few examples of the different ways the power of healthy touch has been welcomed within the medical realm.

The above scenario is an example of one way a bodyworker could use continuing education to help steer a career of relaxation massage toward one that also reaches hospital patients.

It’s important to take the time to figure out the general direction of your dream career in the bodywork field, then enroll in the continuing education courses most relevant to that pathway.

It could be anything from massage for amateur or professional athletes to bodywork that’s geared specifically toward the spa setting. As you can see, there are myriad routes toward a massage therapy career that will keep you excited and financially satisfied.

One of the best aspects of this field is that it’s possible to take bodywork in so many different directions within one career, so there’s no reason to ever grow bored with the good work you do every day.

—Brandi Schlossberg