Massage News for Today’s MT

This selection of massage news articles will help you keep on top of what’s happening in your industry.

This selection of massage news articles will help you keep on top of what’s happening in your industry.

New Massage Therapist Appreciation Week Announced

MASSAGE Magazine and Massage Magazine Insurance Plus announce the first annual Massage Therapist Appreciation Week Jan 17–21, 2022. Without massage therapists like you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do and as a thank you for allowing us to be here, we wanted to give you a week filled with daily giveaways, new offers, education content and more—allto show our deepest appreciation for you and the work you do.

Mark your calendars and get excited for a week dedicated to massage therapists everywhere. Visit massagemagins.com/appreciationweek for more details.

Victor Koo
Victor Koo

Global Wellness Dependent on Global Communication

People are waking up to the importance of personal wellness, an awakening caused primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic—and once consumer behavior changes, such changes are likely to stick around for the longer term as people discover the advantages of these changes, according to Victor Koo, a speaker at the 2021 Global Wellness Summit, held in Boston and virtually.

“In a way, some of our basic assumptions of our society and as humanity needs to be revisited and even reimagined as we face these common challenges, including a global pandemic, national and international tensions, and the ongoing climate change crisis,” said Koo, co-founder of Tianren Culture social platform and “innovation investor.”

59.2

The percentage of Americans who self-describe themselves as happy and thriving, the highest point in more than a decade.

Source: Gallup’s 2021 Life Evaluation Index

“The wellness community also have to step up to respond to these challenges to explore what wellness means to us and what it should mean and contribute to the world,” he added.

Changes in work-life habits have been accompanied by reflection on the importance and implications of wellness, Koo said. “At a personal level, we appreciate more about how healthy eating, sleeping and natural movement habits can boost our immunity to COVID-19.”

Well before the epidemic, we’ve long been living in a world where most people in developed countries die of non-communicable diseases that are caused primarily by lifestyle choices, he said, suggesting that improving one’s diet and not smoking could greatly reduce a person’s chance of dying from one of the top five leading causes of death, including cancers, strokes and cardiovascular diseases.

Yet, Koo said, one U.S. research study shows that more than half of Americans don’t realize that the type of food they eat, smoking, drinking alcohol, and getting good night’s sleep all play an important role in whether or not they might develop certain cancers. “Over 50% of Americans think that cancer is out of their control, whereas, in fact, about 70% of cancers can be prevented based on lifestyle choices,” he added.

One way to speed up the public’s understanding of how to improve their personal health is to increase collaboration and communication on a global level, said Koo.

“With all this in mind, we should also try to reimagine our world in a more holistic and positive way to see how we can improve our global wellness by adopting a global mindset in wellness,” he said. “The obvious but somewhat difficult thing to do is to encourage inclusive communication and cooperation globally rather than divisive geopolitics that has been running rampant around the world.”

4 Takeaways from the 2021 Global Wellness Summit

• The wellness economy is forecast to grow 60%—from $4.4 trillion in 2020 to $7 trillion in 2025. All wellness markets will experience strong growth; the ones hit hardest by the pandemic (wellness tourism, thermal/mineral springs, and spas) will see the biggest growth in the next four years; and the biggest pandemic winners—wellness real estate and mental wellness—will also see powerful market expansion.

• COVID-19 has raised the stakes on healthy buildings and indoor air quality. The quality of the air we breathe will take on huge future significance. The science around air quality measurement and purification is evolving fast and exposing snake oil solutions.

• The pandemic has brought many health and wellness silver linings. Just a few: medical innovation and regulatory approvals are moving faster than ever; plant-based diets have risen; telemedicine and digital health and wellness platforms mean much greater access to services and are moving more medicine and care into the home.

• Research indicates that breathwork needs to be a pillar of wellness. A Stanford University study tested four different breathwork protocols against each other and found that all four (for just five minutes a day) were more effective than meditation at reducing anxiety. One breathwork modality, “cyclic sighing,” (a combination of two inhales followed by a big exhale), had the most positive outcomes across every measure.

—Source: 2021 Global Wellness Summit

German Company Brings Back Bathing Traditions

Giant thermal baths, vertical farms and experiential art come together in one company’s water parks in Europe and Asia—and now there are plans to build these parks in locations across North America, including New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto and Dallas.

Water, heat and nature have traditionally been combined to offer a space for connection, healing and relaxation. “From Roman thermae and Japanese onsen to Turkish hammam baths and Finnish saunas … Therme Group revives this tradition, with an immersive experience that allows visitors to unplug and unwind — giving the time to focus on the beautiful surroundings and make real connections with themselves and those around them,” reads a statement on the website of the company behind the parks, Therme Group, which was founded in Germany in 1999 (thermegroup.com).

The company’s site states it is dedicated to offering entry prices for any budget. Locations in Germany and Hungary include massage therapy along with fitness programming, well-being food experiences, water-based activities and saunas. The first North American park will be built in Toronto, with an expected opening in 2023 and a capacity to welcome more than 20,000 visitors a day.

ISPA Announces 2022 Board of Directors, Officers

The International SPA Association (ISPA) has announced the 2022 ISPA board of directors and officers. The five newly elected directors will begin their term at the conclusion of the 2022 ISPA Conference on May 4, 2022.

CG Funk, Massage Heights’ senior vice president of Culture and Industry Relations

“Interest in board service reached unprecedented levels this year, and we are grateful for the commitment made by these volunteer leaders to help guide our association forward and pursue our vision of elevating the spa industry to new heights,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees.

The ISPA board of directors will be led by Chair Patrick Huey of The Quin House. Kelleye Martin of The Edgewater Spa was re-elected to a second three-year term on the board and will continue to serve as vice chair. Secretary/treasurer Todd Shaw of Fountain Life will continue in that role as well.

The five new members are:

• CG Funk, Massage Heights

• Barry McCaffrey, BABOR

• Charlotte Prescott, Fisher Island Club, Spa Internazionale

• Kenneth Ryan, Marriott International

• Jessica Shea, Hilton

According to an ISPA press release, each of the newly elected candidates were selected from a large slate of candidates following an extensive nomination and interview process.

Mask-Wearing 2.0

No matter the type of massage or bodywork in which you specialize, protecting your health, clients’ health and the health of your practice is paramount.

Two things about omicron—the COVID-19 variant surging around the world—in relation to massage therapy are clear: this very contagious variant is, like its predecessors, primarily airborne (although surfaces should continue to undergo rigorous sanitation); and keeping oneself safe from omicron involves a proper mask worn in an appropriate way.

Omicron is much more transmissible than previous dominant variants, spreading three times faster than delta, according to research from the University of Hong Kong.

This means one infected person can likely infect at least three other people at one time. This research, reported on by NPR, indicates that omicron “multiplies about 70 times faster inside human respiratory tract tissue than the delta variant does. That study also found that omicron reaches higher levels in respiratory tract tissue 48 hours after infection, compared with delta.”

Because omicron is so contagious, situations and events where you might have been protected from infection previously—grocery shopping, hanging out with vaccinated friends, greeting an unmasked client—are not as safe now, which is why you might need to replace your delta-ready mask with something more substantial.

Experts recommend setting aside your cloth mask and replacing it with an N95, KN95 or KF94 respirator. Key, even with these more advanced masks, is a tight seal all the way around your nose and mouth. Also important is making sure you aren’t buying a counterfeit mask; by some estimations, 60% of KN95 masks sold in the U.S. are fake.

For more information, go here. For massage-specific updates on coronavirus, including technique, business and self-care articles, visit MASSAGE Magazine’s digital section dedicated to information on this serious situation.

NCBTMB Announces Election Results

Dolly Wallace

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, Inc. (NCBTMB) announced Dec. 29 that Crista De la Garza, LMT, BCTMB and Dolly Wallace, LMT, BCTMB, were positively voted through by certificants to join the NCBTMB Certification Board, as Practitioner Members, effective March 1, 2022. Wallace was also re-elected as the organization’s president.

“On behalf of NCBTMB, I would like to thank the Board Certificants for doing their due diligence.  We are excited to welcome Crista to the Certification Board and to welcome Dolly back for another term,” said Shelly Johnson, NCBTMB Chief Executive Officer. 

Both De la Garza and Wallace’s terms are for three years through February 28, 2025.  

The NCBTMB Certification Board is responsible for all aspects of board certification and the Approved Provider program, as well as the strategic direction of the organization.  The certification board ensures that NCBTMB maintains its status as an accredited certifying body within the massage therapy profession.

New Review Indicates Massage Effective for Knee Osteoarthritis, in the Short Term

A new systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to synthesize evidence on the effect of massage therapy on knee osteoarthritis.

PubMed, Embase, Ovid, Springer, and Google Scholar databases were searched up to May 8, 2021, for randomized controlled trials comparing massage with controls for knee osteoarthritis. Review manager was used for a random-effect meta-analysis. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane collaboration risk assessment tool and certainty of evidence using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE).

Twelve studies with 737 participants were included. After one to four weeks of massage therapy, there was a significant reduction in pain and stiffness scores in the massage group and after six to eight weeks of therapy, there was a significant reduction in stiffness and functionality scores.

“Massage therapy may lead to some improvement in pain, stiffness, and functionality scores in the short term but not in long term,” the authors wrote. “Aromatherapy massage was not found to be any better than standard massage therapy. Current evidence is limited by methodological heterogeneity amongst trials and small sample size of the studies.”

Read “If You Have Osteoarthritis, You Need Massage,” by Heath and Nicole Reed.

Legislative Updates

California: AB1537, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in late 2021, extended the operation of the Massage Therapy Act from Jan. 1, 2022, to Jan. 1, 2023, meaning the California Massage Therapy Council will continue at least until that later date to issue certificates to practice as a massage therapist and approve massage therapy schools. After that, the bill states, “it is the intent of the Legislature, in extending the operation of the act, that there be subsequent consideration of legislation to create a new state board and a new category of licensed professional.” (Source: text of AB1537.)

Kentucky: HB79, signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear in 2021, requires the state’s massage facilities and spas to report therapists who are convicted of sex trafficking or sexual assault to the state’s board of massage therapy, the goal being to prevent predators from being hired by another spa or massage facility. The bill also states that massage therapists may use pulsed electromagnetic field therapy or microcurrent devices if trained in their use; raises licensing and renewal fees; and implements background checks. (Source: text of HB79.)

Texas: HB1831, which became law in September, requires massage establishments and massage schools (as well as other business types) to post signage made available by the state Attorney General intended to contain information regarding services and assistance to victims of human trafficking, including a toll-free telephone number and url for accessing human trafficking resources; contact information to report suspected trafficking; and key indicators that a person is a victim of human trafficking. (Source: text of HB1831.)

Washington: The state Board of Massage has extended the policy addressing the impact COVID-19 response measures are having on licensed massage therapists regarding meeting continuing medical education (CE) requirements. Massage therapists now have until June 30, 2022, to meet CE requirements, or until the declared state of emergency issued under Proclamation 20-05 is rescinded, whichever is later. (Source: Washington State Legislature WAC 246-830-475.)

Download a Free Ergonomics Chart

Ergonomics chart

The latest material to come out of the Massage Therapy Foundation’s (MTF) Ergonomics Project is the MTF’s new Ergonomic Project infographic, “Ergonomic tips for a Healthier Career,” which is free, printable, and features sections on taking care of fingers and thumbs, improving physical condition, table adjustment, positioning and avoiding overreaching.

The scope of the project (massagetherapyfoundation.org/mtf-ergo-project) includes finding out how massage therapists work and creating a job task analysis. “With this information, our goal is to provide safety parameters for massage therapy work which may include identifying risk factors, examining practice environments, and analyzing the essence of how typical massage therapy work tasks are performed,” the MTF’s project overview states.

Download the infographic at massagetherapyfoundation.org/massage-research/research-infographics.

Learn more about ergonomics and the MTF’s study with “Ergonomics for Massage Therapists: How Can Your Job be Done More Easily?” by MTF President Robin Anderson.

About the Author

Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor in chief. Her articles include “A Move to Transcend State Boundaries: Updates on the Interstate Compact for Massage Therapists” and “As Clients Return, Massage Therapists Vanquish Touch Deprivation.”

Massage News for Today’s MT