Networking and Professional Resources for Massage Students

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Need-to-Know Massage Associations, Organizations, Resources, and Journals 

Whether you’re currently enrolled in a massage therapy school, working toward that goal, or have been in the field for years, professional resources such as journals, associations, podcasts, blogs, and more can offer the information you need to stay on top of the latest news and industry trends. Once you begin working as a massage therapist, you’ll also want to consider networking with your peers at workshops, conferences, and online. Attending these types of events can help you connect with other professionals, build your reputation, increase your expertise, and boost your job opportunities in an occupation that’s projected to grow much faster than others over the next 10 years.


Why You Should Stay Connected

Resources and groups that are tailored for massage therapists provide valuable access to current industry information that can help you expand your knowledge, support your business, prevent practitioner injuries, and improve your service and techniques. 

The big questions with these resources are: Will this help me achieve the goal for my practice? Will this allow me to be the therapist I want to become? How can I use this for my clients?

Taffie Lewis, director of membership outreach at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, she always advises students to join at least one association

“I definitely recommend that students become members of an association because they can tap into so many avenues for expanding their knowledge around the different types of bodywork and massage available,” she says. “It also can offer information on different types of venues for working.”

Lisa McNeil, M. Ed, CFSS-M, a Wisconsin-based licensed massage therapist at the Momentum Movement Clinic, who works with athletes for the United States Olympic Committee, says she likes to network with related professionals who can offer referrals.

“It’s my opinion that massage therapists need to go outside their peers and build relationships with clinicians in modalities that complement their practice,” she says. “That can be achieved by attending workshops and seminars that have a diverse group of clinicians as well as reaching out and meeting people locally.”

McNeil is a big believer in attending these events in person rather than online, so that you don’t miss out on the opportunity to build recognition through face-to-face meetings. She also recommends choosing the events you attend wisely by doing some research first so that you’re more likely to meet individuals aligned with your goals.

Attend events in person rather than online, so you don’t miss out on face-to-face meetings, which is how you build recognition.

“Contact professionals who have already completed the course and discuss the pros/cons, what they liked/disliked, how much they’re using the material, and how they market it to their clients,” McNeil adds. “That helps weed out events that aren’t compatible with your practice.”

In fact, she recommends creating a strategy to help you stay focused when networking, reading, watching videos, and participating in other activities. “The big questions are: Will this help me achieve the goal for my practice?” McNeil says. “Will this allow me to be the therapist I want to become? How can I use this for my clients?”

Leading Massage Associations

Massage Therapist Organization

What It Does


National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)

As the only board certification body for massage therapists in the U.S., the NCBTMB provides a wealth of information regarding finding schools, becoming certified, and earning credentials in specialty areas of massage. It’s a big proponent of in-person learning and provides plenty of resources for finding courses.

American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)

This organization offers a variety of support to licensed or certified massage therapists, and students can join as well. The AMTA provides updates on the latest research and news, lists sources for continuing education, offers insurance to practitioners, and promotes the benefits of massage therapy to the public.

Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP)

The ABMP focuses on building massage businesses and offers a bimonthly Massage & Bodywork magazine as well as marketing and web support. It also specifically provides support to students by offering testing and job aids as well as technique videos.

American Medicinal Massage Association (AMMA)

This association centers around massage as an allied healthcare profession in terms of promoting it as a growing profession, protecting practitioners, and expanding the field. 

Popular Industry Journals and Magazines

Journal / Magazine

What It Offers


Massage & Bodywork Magazine

Members of the ABMP association will receive this bimonthly journal for massage, bodywork, and somatic professionals as part of their membership. It includes articles on the latest trends, research, techniques, business information, and practitioner health.

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

Focusing on the relief of pain and symptoms related to chronic or life-threatening illness, this peer-reviewed journal covers palliative care, pain or symptom control therapies, end-of-life care, and therapeutic models.

The American Journal of Sports Medicine

The American Journal of Sports Medicine is a peer-reviewed publication featuring papers focused on the field of sports sciences, including the latest research and developments. Topics range from orthopedics to massage therapy.

Blogs

Blog

What It Offers


Massage Business Blueprint

Many associations and journals provide information and guidance to help you run your massage therapy business, but the Massage Business Blueprint blog focuses solely on that issue. It endeavors to help you build and maintain your brand, with tips from social media marketing to bookkeeping practices.

Stop Chasing Pain

Stop Chasing Pain explores new techniques and trends in alleviating chronic pain. The blog addresses massage from a more medical-based perspective and pairs it with other therapies such as laser treatments and corrective exercise to reduce pain and increase overall wellness.

Podcasts

Podcast

What It Offers


Life Beyond the Massage Table: A Podcast for Health & Wellness Businesses

This podcast by Candice Eisner is the self-described “short, no BS weekly talk about the realities of running a massage therapy practice.” It covers topics such as balancing your business with the rest of your life, best practices for social media, and how to manage your taxes if you’re self-employed.

Massage Business Blueprint Podcast

Along with its blog and other resources, Massage Business Blueprint also offers a podcast focusing on the business side of massage therapy. Episodes have ranged from covering money matters such as choosing the right bank and offering discounts to tips for maintaining your own physical and mental wellness while running a practice.

Stop Chasing Pain Podcast

The Stop Chasing Pain blog also hosts its own podcast, with over 170 episodes published since 2010. It welcomes various health, wellness, and fitness experts as they share their techniques for helping to treat and alleviate chronic pain, a hot topic in massage therapy.

Pain Reframed Podcast

Sponsored by the International Spine & Pain Institute, this podcast is recommended by massage therapist Lisa McNeil to stay abreast of the rehab world. The aim is to change the language and practice around pain management and misinformation that has led to nationwide issues such as over-medication.

Therapy Insiders Podcast

Therapy Insiders by UpDoc Media is another tool McNeil recommends to stay abreast of physical therapy trends to inform her own practice. The podcast covers sports medicine, rehabilitation, and treatment philosophies, as well as topics such as tips for running a business and recommendations for continuing education.

Who to Follow on Social Media?


Many associations, schools, and businesses have their own social media accounts, which can be helpful to follow if you want to receive updates in real time. Massage influencers are a rare breed on Instagram, but following these hashtags can connect you to useful information #swedishmassage, #massagetherapylife, #deeptissuemassage, #licensedmassagetherapist, #massagetherapistlife.

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