The Importance of Continuing Professional Development as a Massage Therapist
Some professionals, such as physicians and nurses, are required to complete a certain amount of continuing education each year. This is to make sure they keep up to date on the newest techniques available to help their patients. While having a massage therapist license might not mean you must take continuing education, it is still very important and you should consider it a high priority. After all, you are helping heal individuals just as doctors and nurses are. It is important that you provide the utmost up-to-date service to your clients. Most professional associations require it these days and you insurance may depend on it.
Continuing professional development or education as a massage therapist will not only benefit your clients, but you and your employers (if you work for a company) as well. Employers love for their employees to keep up-to-date on the latest techniques that apply to their field. This means that no only do they have a skilled and qualified employee, but they are providing the best service possible to their clients. Even if you work as an individual massage therapist, the same rules apply. By continuing your professional development, you can let your clients know that you have the skills needed to provide them with excellent massage therapy. This will keep clients happy and happy clients are returning clients. Acquiring new skills will also allow you to charge more for your services. Clients who find a quality massage therapist with credentials to back up their services will be willing to pay more for a massage. You can also increase your business by offering different types of massages. If you were trained in Swedish massage, consider looking to other types of massages to help expand your massage repertoire. Look at continuing your massage development by taking classes in different types of Asian massages such as Thai massage, Thai foot massage, Thai herb compress massage or Chinese Tui Na massage. You may want to study more conventional western forms, such as sports massage, pregnancy massage or aromatherapy massage.
If you are already well versed in Asian massage techniques, maybe you should focus your continuing professional development on a specific part of the body. There are courses which concentrate on the assessment and treatment of upper limbs, cervical and thoracic spine, freeing the shoulder, freeing the lower back and hips, focusing on the lumber spine hip/pelvis and lower leg. There is deep tissue or Remedial massage, which works on specific joints or muscle groups. Going even deeper we have neuromuscular therapy, which focuses on pain relief in specific ‘trigger points’ and deepest of all, there is myofacial release, which works to release tension in the connective tissue layers.
To continue your professional development as a massage therapist is very important to both you and your clients. Check with your local clinics and community colleges to see what classes are offered that might help compliment the techniques you already know.