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Massage Gains in Popularity

Only a few years ago, to most people the phrase "massage profession" conjured up images of scantily clad women working in dimly lit back offices, providing massages and other unmentionable "services" to their clients. Now, getting a massage or spending a weekend at a spa is de rigueur - the "in" thing among busy professionals, celebrities, athletes and ordinary Americans alike.

What has caused this sea change in the public's opinion of massage? While no single issue is responsible, several smaller issues percolating separately over the past few years have bubbled up to the surface, coalescing into a new understanding and appreciation of massage therapy as a whole. Educational standards have increased. Research shows massage is effective in treating a wide range of conditions. Massage therapists are being portrayed in a positive light in the mainstream media. Insurance companies are providing coverage for massage and related treatments. And consumers are seeing massage no longer as a luxury item or fringe element of health care, but an accepted, vital ingredient to one's overall health and well-being.

It has been suggested that there are now more than 200 types of massage methods, each using techniques such as rubbing, stretching and the use of hot stones. Some of the newer methods include Watsu or water shiatsu. Many spas also offer types of massages that incorporate more than one technique into a single session; such as the 5 Element Massage at AmorePacific, a Korean spa located in Manhattan. This massage combines Swedish, shiatsu and energy massage to soothe a client based on the person's energy level and one of nature's five elements, such as fire or water. Check your local spa menu to see what is available in your area. Or when planning a vacation, check the spas available at your destination resort or the surrounding area and see if you can treat yourself to one of the latest spa and massage trends.


"Massage Therapy: A Profession on the Rise," by Michael Devitt. Massage Today, March 2006. "Your Health: Hot Massage Trends," by Susan Yara. Forbes, March 1, 2006.

Updated: March 7, 2006


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