The Growth of Medical Massage
Massage therapy is seeing explosive growth throughout the industrialized world and in the United State in particular. This growth is due to many factors both within the therapeutic massage industry and in the broader context of US culture as well. One of the most important developments in the field is the growing acceptance and awareness of the alternative therapies for common issues both temporary and chronic. Massage, when applied properly has been shown in many studies to effectively alleviate pain and other symptoms as well as promoting faster and more extensive healing. Hand in hand with the development of studies showing the benefits of massage has come a broader acceptance of the use of massage therapy in a variety of settings encompassing a broad range of goals. One growing area of treatment that massage therapists provide is in the medical massage field.
The medical massage field can be defined broadly or narrowly; for my purposes a broad understanding including all massage therapies undertaken for the express purposes of alleviating symptoms and/or promoting healing. Taken in this sense, medical massage is exploding in all areas of the country. Chicago massage therapist Stan Ellison, 45 of Chicago, IL, says “In the 25 years I’ve been working with clients I’ve seen a substantial shift in the number of new and existing clients who are seeking massage to treat specific issues or conditions.”
Another area that is benefiting from this growing acceptance of massage therapy is chair massage in the office setting also known as corporate massage. In a corporate climate that seeks to make the working environment as physically and emotionally healthy as possible as a means to increase productivity, the proven physiological benefits of massage are a big if subtle force pushing employee benefits and rewards in this direction. Employers not only get a great, fun activity that all employees can participate in, they also get to feel good that they are promoting the health of their employees.
Full body massage is also a major segment of the massage therapy industry, accounting for 30-50% of the overall market, which is seeing some broad yet subtle changes in the marketplace affecting business. With so many clients showing up asking for more than just relaxation the massage world is adjusting to respond. Massage clinics and individual practitioners are offering more and more therapies to address specific problems. For analyzing the current state of full body massage Houston massage therapist Trace Volmer shares this anecdote: “I had a client of 10 years come to my office recently and ask me about treating his lower back pain. Well of course this is what we had been doing for years but the cognition of that on his end didn’t occur until the popular media helped to reconfigure his understanding.”
In short, massage therapy in all its various forms is emerging as one of US consumers’ favorite health alternatives. It is becoming so popular that it is nearly mainstream in all of the US. The ability of massage therapy in its professionally crafted form is helping to push this revolution in thinking by providing the public what they want, simple, effective, non-invasive treatments for common conditions.
About the Author: John Galbraith has been engaged in various parts of the massage therapy industry for many years. His experiences cross the landscape from corporate massage to healing touch and medical massage as well as several roles in management and business development within the therapeutic massage industry.