In Ann Arbor, massage therapy is not hard to find. What is hard to find is a massage therapist who is passionate about their trade as well as highly skilled and educated.

Every two years I renew my national board certification and every 3 years I renew my state of Michigan massage therapy license. Before I renew each of these, I am required to fulfill at least 24 hours of continuing education with ethics and research as well as CPR/First Aid.

Over the last 5-10 years, the selection of online continuing education classes has grown exponentially. Because I have taken a few of these online offerings, I won’t argue with the fact that this is an efficient and economical way to earn all 24 hours for recertification. The online courses I took several years ago included ethics training and disease education. These were easy enough to study for and answer the test questions. However, you can’t compare online learning with actual hands-on classes.

Last month, I attended the annual Michigan chapter conference for the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) of which I have been a member for 18 years. The 2-day hands-on learning course included Precision Kinematics and Neuromuscular Therapy for the Hip taught by Doug Nelson a well-known massage therapist and educator for over 30 years. Along with about 40 other massage therapists, I watched, learned and practiced new techniques on my fellow peers. We traded giving and receiving this new bodywork and swapped partners frequently so that we could not only experience feeling the bodywork on our own bodies but also feel how each body is unique as they receive the work and get immediate feedback. Hands-on learning is unbeatable.

In October, I will attend the AMTA National Convention in Milwaukee, WI. During this convention, I will take classes in Myofascial Therapy and Sports Massage and will learn about the most current massage therapy research. After 18 years as a massage therapist, there is nothing more fulfilling than learning and practicing with skilled trainers and bodyworkers. This knowledge and skill translate immediately to my clients on the table. They experience my inspiration and commitment with each new stroke and technique.

If you are in the market for a new massage therapist I encourage you to schedule with me, Heidi Johnson, at Thrive Massage and Bodywork at 2500 Packard Street in Ann Arbor to experience my style and approach to massage therapy. Let me help you feel good, live well and thrive!