Trends in Massage

I was recently reading an article about trends in massage and consumers use of massage. The article was mostly facts and figures compiled together by the Associated Massage & Bodywork Professionals and the American Massage Therapy Association. Three facts that I found of interest were that there are more then 250 known styles of massage, 24% of Americans have had a massage in the past year and that 43% of females of have had a massage in the past 5 years, compared to only 25% of men.

I know from being a massage therapist and researching different techniques and styles that there was a wide variety of massages. However I was a bit flabbergasted that the number was over 250! According to the article, the most utilized massage is Swedish-American, which is pretty much the standard of what is taught in massage schools as the 'basics'. Some other highly used massages are deep-tissue, neuromuscular, sports, chair, and reflexology. The oddest massage I've ever heard of was 'snake massage' (yes boys, there's a joke there). This massage has live snakes crawling over your body. Definitely not my style, let alone do I understand how it is supposed to help your body! However some people, somewhere enjoy this 'style' as they are paying for this to happen. Yet, with all these different styles, it comes down to what style and therapist you like and works best for you.

When I first started massaging, I worked at various spas around town. The first place I worked at was very frilly...pink flowers everywhere, including the bathroom. This was not a 'man-friendly' environment and I would say the clientele was 99% females. Some of the other spas I worked at that were maybe a bit more neutral in the decor so it brought the ratio down to maybe 80% female and 20% male clients. In my own practice, it is still a slightly higher female to male ratio yet not by much. I think men are just much more comfortable with having someone come to their home instead of them 'intruding' on the spaces of a female oriented business.

In regards that only 24% of all Americans (that were surveyed) having a massage in the past year is incredible to me! My first thought was "no wonder so many people are stressed out!" Along with "That's a lot of referrals for me, lol!!" Thirty-nine percent of people surveyed said massage is for pampering. However, 59% surveyed wanted massage covered by their health insurance. Wouldn't that be wonderful? If health insurance companies would cover massages as part of a preventative medicine practice, it would absolutely cut their costs on health care issues that so many Americans have. I'm not saying massage will cure anything, however it does help with depression, high blood pressure, stress, pain-relief, migraines, and low-back pain to just name a few.

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