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Relaxation and revitalization

At a time when the “hustle” doesn’t seem to be letting up or slowing down, it should be no surprise that the need for massage therapy is growing.

Once sought as a means of luxury, pampering and relaxation, many have learned the overall value of keeping the body in tune via massage.

Long time masseuse, as well as Owner/Director of Massage and Body Work Education Center, Michelle Scott shared the business has definitely grown due to high demand.

“People are so focused on not just working out and eating well, but they’re focused on the recovery aspect of it, which is awesome,” the massage veteran of 22 years shared. “I’ve watched this industry like completely morph in the past 20 years. People are just so aware that they need to be paying attention to their recovery.”

Scott shared she believes a large part of the growth and awareness has come via social media as so many openly share life’s happenings and discoveries they are passionate about.

“It’s interesting because it is like a trend for a while, even though it has been around forever,” she said of the age-old practice which has grown vastly over the past five years.

“Then they get hooked on it because they realize the benefits,” she continued. “They realize how much better they’re feeling.”

The art of massage therapy on a regular basis can offer a number of health benefits including: lowering stress, increasing the immune system, benefits of overall mental health/clarity, pain management and physical fitness benefits.

While Scott shared the pampering/spa type massages, such as Swedish massage are still alive and well, she herself prefers working on athletes, as well as physically active clients.

“Massage helps balance the body, to bring us back to homoeostasis,” Scott said. “To create that balance and work on posture, to work on movement, to work on mobility; it all goes hand in hand.

“We have a lot of gyms. We have a lot of people who bike, hike or anything and I love athletic stretching, sports massage, deep tissue,” she continued. “I like anything that’s going to help with the recovery.”

As a mother of two and recreational athlete herself, the massage therapy instructor shared personally she prefers both types. Needing to unwind and simply relax on occasion, yet recognizing the benefits of deep tissue for recovery.

“You have to go and train hard, but you have to recover hard as well,” she said of the partnership of massage with fitness. “It’s all of the pieces. It’s one of the pieces that if it’s missing, you’re not going to perform as well as you would like.”

With 20 years of experience in the business, Scott shared she’s happy to see that her students have gainful employment once they have earned their certification. Often times working in a chiropractic office initially before renting their own space and going on their own.

“Most of my students are independent contractors. They are going out and opening their own business which I absolutely love,” she said of her graduates. 

An additional point, which she is passionate about and feels it’s important for clients to understand: just like a hair stylist or esthetician, state certification when seeking a professional massage therapist is also important.

The State of California does not have a state board for massage therapy. They do have, however, CAMTC (California Massage Therapy Council), which monitors schools and curriculums. A majority of cities in California will request CAMTC when one goes for a business license to ensure proper education, but not all require it.

“About 95 percent of California cities have adopted CAMTC regulations as their own. So that is why every school in California now must be a CAMTC for those graduates to get the proper certification,” Scott shared, noting a passion for the topic as many consumers are not aware. 

“It shows that their education is verified. If a city does not ask for CAMTC and they’re just asking for proof of education and don’t use an approved schools list to cross reference then really, we can’t verify the person ever got a massage education,” Scott continued. “If somebody is not properly trained, they can definitely injure their clients.”

Two decades into the trade, Scott shared her excitement for not only how it has grown, but the potential and learning which continue as more enter into the field and the benefits that brings to the client. 

“It used to be you went in and you basically got the full body massage, but now it’s like all the different modalities have made it this way so people are exploring all the different ways to give a massage,” she said.

It all works together, she said, to help provide optimum health.

“Everything now, it’s like they’ve taken a lot of that holistic side of it, but then they’re throwing in all of the in-depth anatomy. Kinesiology, pathology, business, ethics … it’s more well-rounded now and people see it actually make physical changes to our bodies,” Scott summarized. “I always tell my students; massage doesn’t fix the issue. It gives your body the ability to heal.”