Welcome to our new section on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which promises to be informative, fun and definitely all singing and dancing with bells on!
Rachel and Meg, directors of the Jing Institute of Advanced Massage Training are delighted to be collaborating with Massage World to bring you the latest and best information about the training that is the most useful for you – the massage therapist who wants to be the best they can possibly be. We invite you to “Join the revolution” of bodyworkers who want to make our profession professional; that growing tribe of truly dedicated individuals who want the 3 “Rs” – Results, Respect and (as the Buddhists say)– a Righteous livelihood (a thriving and ethical business). You can only achieve this through commitment to continued learning – this is particularly important in the UK where the length of our qualifying courses as massage therapists is often woefully low (approx. 100-300 hours) compared to that of countries like the USA and Canada where 2000-3000 hours is the norm. If you really want to make a living out of this profession, continuing education is not a choice but a necessity.
So keep up to date right here, right now with how you can continually explore your passion about our wonderful profession – remember as the Chinese proverb goes “Learning is like rowing upstream- not to advance is to fall back”
This first article will explore how you can find the right courses for you and some of the great techniques that are out there to help you grow. Upcoming editions of Massage World will explore some of these techniques in more detail to enable you to make informed choices about your CPD investment. Please give us your feedback about what you enjoy -we love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected] with your thoughts.
Training– Enjoying the journey with no end. Why we all need CPD!
“Those who seek mentoring will rule the great expanse under heaven
Those who boast that they are greater than others, will fall short.
Those who are willing to learn from others become greater.
Those who are ego involved will be humbled and made small”
Shu Ching – Chinese Book of history
Although these insightful words above were written more than 25 centuries ago, they are just as relevant today, especially in the health and complementary therapies field where finding the right training can be crucial to achieving success. If you are taking the time to read this article it suggests you are already in the top percentage of complementary health professionals who realise that gaining a qualification is just the beginning of your journey. Advanced training is crucial if you want to be at the top of your field. Think of professional athletes who train day in day out, continually striving for ways to improve their performance, finding ways to work with the best coaches. After 20 years in the massage business it is very
clear to me that those therapists who are successful are also those who have the humility to accept how much more there is to learn.
Taoist sages claim that “one who does not know actually knows, and one who knows really does not know”. To be empty, to recognize how little we know is to be abundant. There is a classic Zen story about a pompous professor who goes to the master to learn about Zen Buddhism. The Zen master invites him for tea and to enlighten him he pours the tea until the cup is overflowing. Then the master gently reminds him “Exactly. Your knowledge is already spilling over so how can I offer you more?” Once we have the humility to accept our limitations, learning becomes a pleasurable and lifelong journey, an eternal renewal that inspires and gives purpose to life.
Which advanced training is right for me?
There can be a bewildering number of choices around in the massage and bodywork field and unfortunately not all of the courses out there offer good value for money. A good training course can ignite a passion for your work in ways you have never dreamed of, while conversely an unsupportive teacher or learning environment can knock your confidence tremendously. With this in mind you may wish to consider the following factors when looking for the training that is right for you:
Value for money
Value for money is not necessarily about finding the cheapest course out there. It is about how the money you put in to your training will work for you in real terms, usually by either increasing your business or enabling you to achieve better results with your current practice. Training is an investment: -as with the stock market you want to invest in the courses that will give you the most return for your money. The cheapest stock doesn’t necessarily give the best returns!
So when choosing your training course think about how the course will make money back for you. Will you be able to put the techniques into practise immediately, increase your client base, feel more confident when dealing with current clients? These factors are much more important than whether the course is the cheapest or shortest around.
Do the maths! Advanced Training can be less in real terms than you think! Lack of money is the most common reason cited for not attending advanced training. So instead of thinking “I can’t afford it” – think “how can I afford it?”. The answer in real terms can be less than you think. For example at Jing we run a 10- 12 month advanced course in advanced clinical massage which also forms the first year of our BTEC level 6 professional diploma. The course costs £2300 plus VAT – a total of £2760. Sounds a lot right? Yet how many new clients would you need to pay for that training? 100? 50? 20? The answer, believe it or not is actually 4! The techniques we teach on that course show massage therapists how to treat chronic pain (low back pain, RSI, neck pain etc) and get results within 1-6 weekly treatments. We work on a model of a weekly treatment for the first 3-4 weeks. Once the client is pain free from week to week we then increase the time between treatments to fortnightly. After the initial 6 sessions we recommend all clients are placed onto a once monthly maintenance schedule to prevent further re-injury – most clients are more than happy to do this once they have seen the benefits of treatment for their chronic pain. Using this model and assuming you are charging a minimum of £45 per treatment (if you are not charging at least this put your prices up immediately!) lets do the maths to see how much one new client earns us each year:
Once a week treatment
for 4 weeks at £45 = £180
2 x fortnightly treatments at £45 = £90
1 x month maintenance treatment at £45 = £450 over 10 months
Grand yearly total for one new client: £720
So just 4 new clients earns you £2880 a year- enough for those seemingly expensive course fees with some spare change left over for a yearly subscription to Massage World and some good text books! So be positive when thinking about advanced training – at a bare minimum the course should pay for itself; good courses will continue to bear financial fruits for the rest of your working career with the knowledge and confidence they bring.
The expertise level of your tutors is a really important factor in making sure you get good value for money from your training. Having trained with a number of experts in the bodywork field around the world, the factors we feel are most important in making a great teacher are: Enthusiasm and passion for their subject: Is your tutor excited by what they teach? Do they excite and inspire you? Or are they burned out, listless, jaded? Are they able to talk intelligently about the material in a way that allows you to understand without feeling inadequate? How long have they been in the field? Be suspicious of those “experts” who have only just qualified themselves! Maintaining a current practice: We are constantly amazed by how many teachers are no longer practising in their chosen field. At Jing we feel it is vital as a teacher to always continue with your own massage practice. True learning comes in the daily therapist/client interaction, the joy at successes, the humility when things don’t go as we expect. Maintaining a practice enables a teacher to relate to students on every level; together as therapists we are taking a similar journey.
Are you having trouble starting your practice? Been there. Feeling exhausted after every client? Been there. Trapped in your full time job and desperate to break out? Been there too. And most importantly we have been there and got out the other side and are happy, healthy and making a wonderful living doing what we love to do. The best teachers are then ones that are “walking their talk” and are able to relate to you on your level.
Being open to student interaction: A good teacher really wants you to “get it”. This means someone who does not put him or herself on a pedestal out of reach but is open to questions and true interaction with students. They welcome discussion and critical thinking of what they are teaching. Good teachers understand that they are not the “guru” but have as much to learn from their students, as they have to offer. It is like a flowing dance between teacher and student where each is involved with giving and receiving. Our students constantly inspire us to learn more, to reflect on our current practice and to rediscover the beauty of bodywork basics.
Humour: The Tao is often called the Way of Laughter. Good teaching involves fun, the ability to see humour in difficulties and to promote serious learning with lightness and joy. Good teachers never take themselves too seriously and are always able to laugh at their mistakes.
Further Training: Your tutors should themselves always be developing. It is important that their passion drives them to learn more. This will translate to you into a freshness and new angles on information.
Learning Style and environment: Unfortunately many of us have had negative learning experiences in childhood where we have felt inadequate or stupid. Good adult education is about stimulation, getting you excited, not about sitting in a classroom bored and watching the clock. Find a course that involves you, with plenty of hands on and practical learning. Look for courses where the teaching is encouraging; not critical. A true learning environment is one where we are able to feel safe in “not knowing”; it is only from this place of emptiness that profound growth and change can occur. Most important good learning means enjoying yourself.
Course material: Your tutor should be able to tell you exactly what you are going to learn on the course and what outcomes you can expect to gain by the end. Ask for a course syllabus or ask the tutor to talk you through what you are going to learn. Watch out for what we call “packing material” – this is like the big box you get through the mail that looks really exciting but is 90% foam packaging. There are many courses out there where you have to wade through mounds of unnecessary material to get to the bit you really want. In all Jing courses our aim is to give you only the material that really works; the stuff that has been tried and tested over many years in clinical practice; to show you the shortcuts to where you want to be. We believe that a teachers’ job is to “shorten the journey” and this is exactly what good training should do.
Training is a wonderful journey and we urge you all to continually strive for your own development; there are always deeper and richer paths to follow.
“Do not assume that you know all.
Notice nature and abide in the infinite.
Travel openly on uncharted paths. Be
all that you are, but do not make a
show of it. Be contented and remain
empty, and learn to sustain the
Top Techniques for a thriving Massage Practice
Ok then, so which CPD courses should you look out for? Which ones will be the good investment we have been talking about? After 20 years in the business I am happy to share some of my top techniques and approaches that have been of the most benefit to my career. In upcoming issues of Massage World we will be exploring all of these techniques in more depth plus much more. These techniques are tried and tested and without a doubt will enable you to get good results and build the career you desire. Stay tuned!
Trigger Point therapy: The good news is that as a bodyworker you can learn to bring clients out of pain quickly, effectively and permanantly, within 1-6 weekly treatments using trigger point skills. Trigger Point skills are highly effective techniques that can be easily incorporated into your existing massage work and will astound you and your clients with the power of their results. As one of our students said “ I don’t know who was more surprised- me or my clients- when they came back the next week reporting dramatic relief from long standing problems”
Myofascial Release (MFR) and structural fascial techniques: Learning trigger point therapy was the first big breakthrough I had in my massage career as it enabled me to start treating pain conditions successfully. However there were always some persistent pain conditions that would not respond to this approach. Learning MFR was another magical eye opener for me that enabled my work to progess to a higher level. MFR techniques address the body’s fascial system, that is, the 3D fibrous connective tissue that holds the body together and gives it shape. Most commonly taught massage techniques fail to address the fascia, thus denying practitioners a large piece of the puzzle when treating pain conditions. MFR techniques aim to restore mobility in the fascia and soften connective tissue that has become rigid, with highly effective results.
Stretching Techniques and STR (soft tissue release): You can use stretching with everyone from the athlete to the elderly and enable your clients to take greater control over their own health by teaching them to stretch between sessions. And those are just the benefits to your clients! The benefits for you are tremendous: you will have a unique selling point to widen your practice and increase your income. Soft tissue release (STR) is another great technique that uses the principles of stretch and compression to gain fantastic results.
Hot Stone Fusion: Without a doubt if you are looking to build your practice, make more money, and save your hands then learning Hot Stone Fusion will be one of the most worthwhile investments you make in your massage career. My students repeatedly come back to me and say “this is the course that built my practice”. Learning good hot stone massage will enable you to treat chronic pain more effectively, charge more per treatment and learn to use effective tools to save your hands.
Injury prevention, good body mechanics and Forearm Fun! Anyone who works with intensively with their hands is prone to upper extremity injury and unfortunately massage therapists are no exception. The arms and hands are just not designed to withstand heavy work over extended periods of time leading to carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and other hand and wrist RSIs. It is rare for massage therapists to be taught how to protect their bodies leading to an exceptionally high rate of injury in the profession.
Anatomy- Know Your Muscles! Knowing your musculo-sleletal anatomy is a must if you want to achieve lasting results with your clients and gain respect from other health professionals. Your anatomy is the “roadmap” of the body; if you really feel your anatomy in your hands your ability to gain results will increase a thousand fold. Find a course that will teach you your anatomy in a 3 dimensional way and teach you that anatomy is fun fun fun!
Orthopaedic Assessment Techniques: Developing good assessment and evaluation tools enables your practice to move onto a truly professional level. A good assessment enables you to see whether your treatment is working and gives you measurable benchmarks so both you and your client are able to assess progress.
Making your CPD choices – where to start:
So hopefully this has whetted your appetite for all the exciting stuff that’s out there! We recognise that making choices around CPD can be confusing as you want to make sure you are making the right decision for you and your business. In our upcoming articles we will be taking you on an exciting journey to explore all the wonderful options available, looking at all the techniques available to learn via advanced training in the UK; their particular benefits, how they can advance your career and for what types of therapist these courses are most suitable. We look forward to learning together!
The Jing Institute of Advanced Massage
Training is an organisation dedicated to
excellence in all aspects of postgraduate
massage training. Based in Brighton, we offer
courses around the country. Our courses include
longer qualifications in advanced massage including
our revolutionary BTEC Level 6 (degree level) in Advanced Clinical and
Sports massage and 1-2 day CPD courses in Hot Stone Fusion,
trigger point, myofascial release, stretching, pregnancy, on site, living
anatomy and many others. You can also check out the approaches
discussed in this article in our DVD in advanced clinical massage
techniques, downloadable from the website. Please call or check our
website for further information and course dates.
W: www.jingmassage.com E: [email protected]
T: 01273 628942
You can also follow us on Facebook: Jing Institute of Advanced
Massage Training or Twitter! @JingInstitute