- Be up-to-date on laws, legislation and licensing issues in the state where you work and are licensed.
- Be up-to-date on the following topics:
Pregnancy Massage – massage can be done on a pregnant woman during ANY stage of pregnancy as long as contraindications are ruled out.
Myofascial release – Traditional vs Biopsychosocial models
Triggerpoint therapy – Travel Triggerpoint theories are outdated.
Cancer and massage therapy. It is OK to give massage to people with cancer.
- Understand that these are traditional types of massage that lack scientific evidence: Reflexology, Reiki, Energy Work, Polarity Therapy, Structural Integration
- Understand that toxins are not released during a massage at any time.
- Understand the biopsychosocial model of pain.
Continuing Education requirements vary greatly by state. We also lack any sort of cohesiveness in what training is required to continue on as a massage therapist. To date there has been no research of any kind done that shows what CE is required to create a successful massage therapist. Technically, the entry level analysis project has outlined what it takes to do that for an entry level massage therapist. What they need beyond that should really be minimal except for keeping up to date on the latest research, policies, laws and evidence on massage therapy.
Each state should have their own specific CE class that makes sure that massage therapists are up-to-date on the laws in their state.
Ideally, there should also be ONE CE class for the whole US that contains the latest information on research and evidence based massage to keep everyone up to date. Many massage therapists still think massage is contraindicated in the first trimester of pregnancy and is also contraindicated with cancer patients. Many massage therapists still talk about toxins being released with massage which is not true and also about the fact that massage reduces cortisol. It doesn’t do that either.
The majority of states require that Massage therapists take classes that are approved by the National Certification Board for Massage and Bodywork. They have a process for approving CE teachers and classes and they have been found to be approving many classes that are not based on the available evidence.
The CE Conundrum
CE has been overseen by the National Certification Board for Massage and Bodywork for many years. They have a process where they approve CE classes and teachers as many states require that CE classes be approved by the NCBTMB. Since the NCB has been approving many non-evidence based classes and not approving many essential classes like those on human trafficking, the NCB has come under scrutiny.
The Federation of Massage State Boards has also been easing their way into the CE market (although they did previously agree that they would NOT), by creating a CE Directory site to help state boards track therapists CE classes.