My Marketing and Practice Building Evolution

The Ariana Institute’s Marketing and Practice Building for Massage Therapists Manual is part of a series of massage manuals that are designed to help deepen the knowledge of current massage therapists and introduce new massage therapists to the world of massage and bodywork.  The Marketing and Practice Building for Massage Therapists Manual features topics that are also available as NCBTMB approved online CE courses through the Ariana Institute at, including:

  • Marketing and Practice Building
  • Ethics


This manual incorporates strategies, personal stories, and suggestions to help deepen the understanding of marketing and practice building for current massage therapists and introduce new, upcoming massage therapists to innovative and creative ways to create a successful, thriving massage practice.

Here’s a personal story about marketing and practice building featured in the Marketing and Practice Building for Massage Therapists Manual.


When I first became a massage therapist in the early 80s, it didn’t seem to occur to legislative bodies to have licensing for massage therapists, therefore, we had few formal massage schools and only rarely were marketing classes offered to help guide us on our way. The internet was not available to the public outside of academic environments, so we had limited connection with other massage therapists and no way of reaching potential clients electronically through social media or email. Our marketing was primarily limited to word of mouth, referrals, posters on bulletin boards, snail mail, networking, and print ads. My, how times have changed!

In 1983, as various states throughout the United States started mandating licensing, and massage schools started opening on a broader scale, I built on the initial core curriculum training I had in Austin by participating in additional massage technique training with the Texas Massage Institute. Utilizing the knowledge I gained in these classes, I marketed myself within the framework of the medical environment where I worked. I also marketed my private practice by networking, attending conferences, and building goodwill in the community. Additionally, I created business cards and flyers to distribute during these opportunities. I continued participating in advanced continuing education courses in order to deepen my knowledge base and increase my skill set.

In 1999, as the state licensing requirements further increased, I attended an additional massage therapy training program where I studied with the most incredible marketing teacher, Irene Watson. She and I connected deeply and stayed friends after I graduated from the program. A few years later when she decided to retire from teaching and retool her career in another direction, she gave me boxes of files filled with her teaching materials. I had been teaching massage for approximately two years and being gifted with this treasure trove of instructional material was a turning point in deepening and enriching the courses that I offered. I felt encouraged to begin an in-depth exploration of teaching additional modalities. Her affirmation of my teaching abilities was inspiring on many levels.

I supplemented my own marketing, teaching, and practice building research with the materials given to me by Irene. I read books, listened to tapes and CDs, watched videos, and attended marketing workshops and classes. This information, coupled with my own years of experience in the massage therapy profession, helped me evolve as an educator.

The next step in my journey as a massage therapy instructor was to extend the use of my knowledge by developing curriculum and teaching courses specifically related to marketing and practice building. The first marketing class that I taught was for the Texas Association of Massage Therapists in Austin. I researched the material carefully, utilized information from my marketing teacher as a point of departure for my own ideas, and thought about what did and didn’t work for me as I marketed my practice. From there, I created a comprehensive course notebook. It was a golden moment for me – my first class! The information was well received and I felt very connected to the students. Many of us stay in touch throughout the years. We have referred clients back and forth, and have supported one another in our marketing efforts. Some of the people who attended my initial class have taken subsequent classes from me over the last 16 years, and several have become educators in the massage community. I could see that participation in this class encouraged my students to use their time and energy wisely and market in ways that best suited their personalities and lifestyles.

Like my time teaching at the Texas Association of Massage gathering, being a part of organizations has been a beneficial experience. I feel very supported through my involvement with The World Massage Festival, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, the Alliance for Massage Therapy Educators, the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, and the American Massage Therapy Association. Participating in these organizations has opened many doors for me locally and nationally that would have otherwise remained closed. As name recognition for the Ariana Institute for Wellness Education increases through these networks, more students are drawn to participate in our online and hands–on continuing education classes.

As I reflect on my marketing and practice building journey, I can see that it is important to use the internet as an accessible tool to the public, participate in organizational activities, and take marketing and practice building classes to keep abreast of new and relevant ideas in the marketing community. Even though I have been in the massage profession for many years, these are concepts that I continue to practice and promote as times continue to change. Teaching marketing and practice building has had a profound influence on my life; best stated by Pericles, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” That Pericles quote reflects the importance of being mindful of how our lives can affect those around us in a positive and uplifting manner as we build our practices ethically and with integrity.

Ariana Vincent was awarded the 2015 CE Provider of the Year Award by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. She is CEO of the Ariana Institute and a Nationally Certified Massage Therapy Instructor whose classes are accepted throughout the United States. Ariana is also a Massage Therapy Hall of Fame Honoree and author of the Ariana Institute’s therapy manual series available on Amazon.

To read the foreword of the Marketing and Practice Building for Massage Therapists Manual, visit  
The Ariana Institute’s video introduction to Marketing and Practice Building Massage CE courses can be accessed on the Ariana Institute’s YouTube Channel at
To order your copies of the Ariana Institute’s Marketing and Practice Building for Massage Therapists Manual, visit  
For additional information about the Ariana Institute and to register for online continuing education and MTI courses visit Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, NCTMB Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, NCTMB

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