Today in the United States relative to the massage and bodywork profession, a 500-hour (or more) core curriculum of entry level education is delivered to teach basic anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and pathologies of the body’s systems. It also incorporates entry-level bodywork, stress management, business, ethics and other types of modalities to gain students’ interests about the holistic realm. Upon demonstrated mastery of this information, along with hands on skills, an entry level massage therapist is judged to be competent to safely administer 30–90 minutes of massage.
This is simply the beginning of a therapist’s professional journey, a journey that must include some component of continued learning in both the educational and clinical (hands on) realms. In other words, an entry-level practitioner must do more to learn, retain and operationalize the necessary skills to maintain continued growth, awareness and professional competency, in addition to remaining vital and competitive within the profession.
Continuing education is one of the generally accepted methods which professionals and regulatory agencies use to ensure a therapist refines and builds on entry-level skills. It also is a means by which the larger health care and consumer communities can be assured that therapists maintain psychological, educational and professional high intentions in areas of ethical and operational excellence.
The purpose of continuing education is, more specifically, to:
- detour the development of bad habits
- acquire knowledge of more advanced modalities
- learn effective new techniques
- increase practitioners’ awareness of other holistic modalities
- continue to increase basic, intermediate and advanced skills
- develop successful business/marketing methods and tools
- refine massage therapists’/bodyworkers’ ethical behavior and standards of practice with clientele
- discourage burnout due to repetitive bodywork
- increase massage therapists’/ bodyworkers’ knowledge of medical and holistic practices, psychology, science and massage therapy
- assist therapists, through additional knowledge and strengthened techniques, in remaining competitive within the marketplace