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Jan 26, 2015

The Importance of Continuing Education for Massage Therapists

By: Dr. Jeff Rockwell

We often think of “learning” in very narrow terms: it’s what we do in school, and once we’ve got our massage license, the learning phase is over and it’s time to work.

I get that; I really do. You have taken many classes and put in many hours into your education. You may be tired or need a break from the stress that sometimes comes with learning new things. You want to make some money.

But life-long learning is like a nutrient that our mind requires. It’s about exploration, growth and personal enrichment. It keeps us alive, fresh and primed for a great life.

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Learning Adds Depth to Your Life

For me, the primary reason to keep learning new things—much of which I do through continuing education classes– is because I enjoy it. It’s not quite the same enjoyment that I get from watching a movie, and there are always frustrating moments in learning anything new. But I’m happier in the long run. I stay current in my field, I get to learn from inspiring teachers, and I nurture a successful career and life. As they say, “Earners are learners,” and “readers are leaders.”

If you take the time to consciously learn new ways of helping your clients, you’ll find that you live life more deeply. Instead of chasing quick entertainment that fails to satisfy, you’ll enjoy the pure pleasure of those “aha!” moments when something that’s been mystifying you finally clicks. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to make connections between pieces of knowledge – and the more creative and effective you’ll become in your hands-on work. Gandhi wrote, “May your hands be a sign of reverence and gratitude to the human condition.” For that to be so, life-long learning is necessary. Thankfully, there are many excellent CEU providers available to meet these needs, beginning with National Holistic Institute’s very own 450-Hour Neuromuscular Therapy program.

Learning Prevents You from Getting Bored

Learning new massage techniques through continuing education classes keeps you from growing bored with your work. Granted, as a massage therapist you hopefully have work you love, but without a regular “diet” of new information and techniques, your enthusiasm can wane and your work suffer. When is the best time to drink water? Right—before you get thirsty. When you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. When is the best time to register for a continuing class? Correct—before you grow bored or uninspired.

Learning Puts You on the Fast Track to Success

Another reason to continue with life-long learning is because that’s simply what successful people do. If you settle back and decide that you’ve learned everything you need to know about running a business, about succeeding in your practice or about staying motivated and on-purpose, you’ll lose out to competitors who have a passion for learning.

My friend and mentor Cynthia Ribeiro, the developer of NHI’s Neuromuscular Therapy program likes to tell people, “I never graduated.” That may seem surprising, to say the least, to hear someone who teaches a to admit that they never graduated. Until you realize that what she means is that she made a conscious choice to never stop reading, studying and taking continuing education classes. Nearly thirty years into her career, Cynthia is an acknowledged master in the massage therapy profession, and she is still taking classes. Albert Einstein wrote, “Learning should begin at birth and end only at death.” Cynthia would agree. Massage therapists, what will you study next, and when?