Massage therapy is a rewarding career but it can also be a demanding one. For some, it will be the most physical work you have done before. Others will find challenges in the emotional or business-related aspects of the job. Below are some important tips for maintaining — and enjoying! — your practice over the long-term.
3. Connect with Other Massage TherapistsWorking as a massage therapist can sometimes feel isolating. Networking with other therapists in your field is an important part of maintaining a connection to the massage therapy profession. Keep in touch with your teachers and classmates using any kind of alumni resources your school offers — such as a newsletter, Facebook group, or school open house nights. One of my favorite ways to stay connected is to volunteer as a practice body for future student clinics at my school. You can also [join a professional organization](Blog Post #11 - "What Is A Professional Organization and Why Should You Join One?") such as the AMTA orABMP. These groups give you direct benefits, such as insurance and discounts, and also help connect you with other therapists in your local area. Finally, consider finding a supervisor — a more experienced massage therapist who can offer you continued guidance and personalized mentorship once after you’ve graduated. Supervision is one of the best investments you can make in your long-term massage career. Ask your teachers for a recommendation before you graduate.
4. Keep Good RecordsEarly in your career, it can be easy to get swept up in a busy work schedule and not keep records of your massages, but you will thank yourself later if you do. Keep an intake form, consent form, and SOAP notes or other kinds of notes for each client. One of the best therapists I know journals after each client, even if just a few sentences, about something he learned during the massage. His practice has improved dramatically through this process of reflection. It can also be valuable to track client contact data — how often do you see each client, where they were referred from, how much did they pay, etc. — so that you can assess which client acquisition and retention strategies are working best for you. Finally, especially if youoperate your own massage business, it is essential to keep track of your income and business expenses. Keeping these financial records up-to-date and organized will make your life much easier when tax time comes around.
5. Continue Learning
Massage therapists are life-long learners. The field of massage therapy is always growing and changing, especially now as massage is being increasingly integrated with the medical field. Stay up-to-date on what is happening in the massage world by subscribing to a publication through your professional association, joining amassage therapist-focused Facebook group, or taking Continuing Education classes in new modalities that pique your curiosity. My favorite way to keep my practice fresh is by trading massage with other therapists! Trades are a great, affordable way to learn new tools, and improve your technique, while also practicing good self-care.