In the beginning of my massage therapy career, I participated in CE classes just because they were available. In not even sure I can tell you what I learned. Don’t take me wrong, I am selective in what I learn but when you live in rural Idaho, you kind of take whatever ends up being taught locally.
That was almost 30 years ago when we were limited in our training options and on-line training was not even born yet. Those were the days of good old-fashioned mail and no google searching. You bought books, waited for them to be delivered in 2-3 weeks, and read them. I didn’t get to browse until my eyes were crossed and we didn’t get to have the answers, articles, videos, website with tutorials and free information at our fingertips.
We were all so deprived in the early 1990’s.
Training After Massage School
One series of courses left a lasting impact on my hands and soul. Those classes were the training of Paul St. John and the technique was Neuromuscular Massage Therapy. Each live class was around $500 to attend. At the time, I couldn’t afford to attend most of the classes or the traveling expenses to each training so I bought his home study series on VHS tapes (wow – I am that old) and read his manuals. Some of those videos I played so much that the video tape is almost worn out. I read and watched every single piece of information he sent me, practicing the skills until I understood how the pieces worked together, and just tried my best to help people with this skill.
I never certified in his technique because my focus wasn’t about the piece of paper. It was a passion for what I was learning and that passion made me the therapist and teacher I am today. Mr St. John taught me to research with my hands, to not stop until I found what I was looking for, and that there is always an answer pain – you just have to dig and work hard to find it sometimes.
He was my invisible teacher and mentor. Without ever being in a classroom with him, he offered me training with his passion and that passion transferred to me through his work. That passion is what carries me forward in massage still.
The Real Question is: What Do You Really WANT to Learn?
There are many programs available that can help you mindlessly get your CE Hours but have you found something that brings you passion for your work?
Passion is what keeps you from burning out at the table. It also keeps motivating you to help people – which is the #1 reason you became a massage therapist (right?).
With that in mind, let’s talk about those 5 questions to ask yourself before investing in more CE training.
#1 Does the work or technique inspire you?
If you do research and it “just fits” you, chances are it is a good technique to explore. Just because its popular (or available or cheap) doesn’t mean you will actually use the skills taught to you. Think about a problem you want to solve in your practice or a specific pain issue you need more education for and find the answer to that in training form.
#2 Can you purchase a sample training so you can experience it before committing?
In today’s world of being able to view a video or get someone’s “expert book” on just about anything for your email address, you should be able to find a way to experience a technique before attending a class-either live or on-line. Many have a free trial or a way to experience it before committing.
Explore Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, purchase an inexpensive DVD of the program or do the trial – you have choices, use them and really see what is available to you. Try before you buy!
#3 Have you actually experienced the work on your own body?
“You will never know until you try it!” It’s the same for the vegetables your mom put on your plate AND massage therapy. Schedule a session with someone who already uses the technique and explore firsthand (pun intended) what it feels like to receive the techniques.
#4 Is it affordable for you?
Personally, I do not believe in acquiring a large amount of debt to get a training or for continuing education. Yes, I believe in investing in yourself but when you convince yourself that your future success is dependent on taking this or that class, it has the same feeling to me as gambling. “If I take this class, then everyone will come to me and I’ll make tons of money”. Ya… no.
It never works out that way. A certificate hanging on your wall doesn’t bring more people through your door. Good customer service skills, marketing yourself, consistency, and a great massage skill set are all required to build a clientele. In fact, I believe this so much I teach a class about it: Massage Your Market.
Be sensible and put aside the funds to go train. Make sure you aren’t putting yourself into a situation of debt where you have to work more to pay off an investment that may not create the demand you think it will.
#5 Are you willing to do the training on-line at home?
More CE providers (like myself) have shifted their programs to on-line training. Live classes have become more expensive for you take but they have also become cost-prohibitive for the provider to offer as well. With more people selecting on-line training, classroom numbers have gone down and expenses for just about everything have gone up. It is almost impossible to offer live training anymore and for a teaching company to stay afloat.
However, online training has come so far and there are many styles of training being offered now. Everything from just reading the material to video training and step-by-step processes of working through a program are becoming available making the on-line training courses more effective.
The questions become – are you willing to sit down, turn the computer on, and train yourself with an on-line program in a consistent way to finish a class? OR are you going to buy something and never get around to it?
And that my friend takes us back to question #1.
Does it inspire you?
I believe that when you find something that inspires you, not only will you take the time at home to train, but you will finish it and become proficient at applying it. You will spend every chance you have to train just for a few minutes or watch a video when you have a question.
You will google search and explore options around it. You will share it with your massage trade partner and try new skills. You will share it with your friends and family even if they don’t want to hear about.
In essence, you learn and incorporate it with you in a way that motivates you to continue. That doesn’t always happen just because you paid and went to a seminar. That happens when you find something that ignites a fire within you to learn it and you end up finding your passion – again.
This feeling and drive is the training you want (and need) to expand your business and stay in this business for years. When you feel passion for your work it comes through your hands and into the therapy you offer to those seeking your service. That is when your hands sell you and the referrals just start coming in.
My Passion is Teaching YOU
As an instructor, I just want to help other massage therapists be successful. It is probably a similar feeling and reason as to why you are in massage therapy – to help people.
Teaching massage is my passion. I can run businesses and teach classes, but I can be just as boring and uninspiring as everyone else out there if my focus is only on numbers.
That is why my focus is to empower YOU to succeed because nothing inspires me more than to see the light bulb click on in my students. I love it when their eyes light up and they say “Oh! That worked!” and the passion for massage or working for themselves reignites in them.
That is the most amazing feeling in the world to me and that is why I teach what I do and in the way I do. I enjoy creating classes that inspire, open your mind, solve a problem, and help you and your business move forward.
Successful teaching also requires that training be offered in a learning style your audience can understand best. I am a massage therapist and my learning method is more visual/manual. I like pictures and prefer visual training like video over reading. I want to be coached and shown how to succeed by a REAL teacher talking to me. So I put together classes in the way I would want to learn them in.
That visual experience, with your manual practice, is what I offer my professional students. It is a refreshing approach to getting your CE hours for massage therapy online.
You can check out PPS Seminars classes and see if what and how I teach ignites your passion for learning!