Ok, you’ve done it. You’ve signed up for massage school! But how can you be successful? It has been years since you were in school or you struggled with school. Well, I have got some tips to help you kick a** in massage school from the very first day that you should turn into daily habits.
I know, you are telling me “Kathleen what do you know, you haven’t been a student in years!!” Well, I know I haven’t been a student since 2007, but what I have been is a teacher since 2001. Before changing careers to become a massage therapist, I taught elementary and middle school. I have been teaching people how to massage since 2011, so that is over a decade of just teaching massage. So, I know a thing or two about how people learn.
“What? I thought you were going to tell us study tips” Yes we will get to that, but first you need to start stretching. Here at Texas Massage Academy, we use the lower tables and with that, you will need to get down on your knees for part of the massage, so what does that mean? You need to start stretching out those quads (the muscles on the front of your leg) so that you can get down there.
Also, I’m going to recommend that you start some ab exercises. No, you don’t need a flat stomach and to be a size 2, to be a massage therapist, but what you do need, is a strong core. Our core helps to protect our back! So time to start a few sit-ups every day to build those muscles!!
So habit number one is that you need to do some situps every night and to stretch your legs so you can sit on your feet.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Even from day 1 when all you are doing is strokes down your partner’s back, find someone at home to practice your massages on. Why is this important? Having someone at home to practice on helps to increase your hand skills. Having someone that you practice on regularly also will be able to tell you how much you are improving as you are learning at school.
Some hits to practicing at home. 1) Do not give everyone you know free massages, you will want all of these people coming to see you when you get to the internship. Then when you are licensed, you will want them to pay you!! Many times people that are just looking for a free massage will not become a regular paying client later once you are licensed. 2) Practice on different body types. It is important to have a regular person that can let you know how your massage is improving, it is equally important to massage different body types to give you more experience.
Habit number 2 – schedule a practice time on a friend or family member a couple times a week. Hint, work up to where you can give a 2 hour massage without having to take a break.
Set A Study Time
Set a scheduled study time. Put this in your calendar and tell your friends and family. By telling your friends and family, you are helping to keep yourself accountable to yourself. But you are also already letting them know if you won’t be able to go out with them for something if it interferes with your study time.
Now let’s talk about some tips for studying during your study time. My 4 study tips are flashcards, review your class notes, mind map, and a daily journal. Let’s go through these 1 at a time.
First, flashcards. I LOVE flashcards. Flashcards are great because you can take a stack with you where ever you go and instead of playing on your phone while you are waiting for something, you can quiz yourself. Things to make flashcards of definitions, important notes in class, practice questions, bones and muscles (PS you should buy the Trail Guide to the Body Flash Cards!!), important people, important dates, etc. You can make flashcards for just about anything.
Second, review class notes. After class is over, go back through your notes from the day. Add any thoughts about the subject in the margin of your notes or on a separate paper. Write out any important notes from the lesson. How can you connect this material to your life? Make your flashcards. We want learning to be for life, not just for a test. By studying this material now, you are increasing the connections in your brain.
Third, Mind Map. You might be asking, what is a mind map. A mind map is a way to break a concept down visually. This is an amazing tool that you can use with learning your muscles or apply to any subject. You have the main concept, which is broken down into smaller branches and then down into even smaller ones. Check out this example using 2 of the actions for the knee.
Fourth, daily journal. A journal is not simply a summary of what you have learned, but it should also include your thoughts and reactions to what you are learning. After your class or lesson, take a few minutes to journal about the lesson. Some prompts to help you with your journal:
- Summary of today’s lesson.
- What was the most interesting thing in today’s lesson?
- What new thing did I learn today?
- Did today’s lesson change my previous thinking about this subject?
- What am I unsure about from today’s lesson?
- What would I want to know more about from today’s lesson?
- How does today’s lesson relate to my current life or my future life?
- How can I apply today’s lesson to my life?
Habit number 3 – Schedule your study time! Think of it like an appointment or class and you can’t miss it.
Find a Study Buddy
There are so many benefits to having a study buddy. The biggest is it will help keep you accountable for your study time. If your study buddy is a fellow student, they can help you with concepts that you might be struggling with or you can help them. Now, if your study buddy isn’t a student, it could be a friend or family member or even your cat or dog. If you teach someone the material you are studying it helps you to have a better understanding of the material. So teaching your dog about the different actions of the knee isn’t going to help him, but it will help you.
Habit number 4 – Have someone that will keep you accountable for studying.
Tell me in the comments which tip or habit you liked the most or if you have an even better tip or habit, to help other students, let me know in the comments below!!
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