The end of the year is the perfect time to look back on the news and developments in the massage therapy field. Here are our choices of top news stories from 2022.
1. Your Massage License Might Soon Be Portable
The Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) announced March 17, 2021, that the US Department of Defense (DOD) has selected the massage therapy profession to receive technical assistance from The Council of State Governments to develop an interstate compact for occupational licensing portability . Once this compact is completed, massage therapists will be able to work in any state that has enacted the compact.
A Move to Transcend State Boundaries: Updates on the Interstate Compact for Massage Therapists
2. Massage Therapists Report from the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing
Massage therapists from the US touched down in January in Beijing, China, for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The therapists were members of Team USA—and they filed reports from Beijing for MASSAGE Magazine, to offer a snapshot of the celebrations and challenges related to providing massage for some of the world’s best athletes.
MT’s Report from the Winter Olympics & Paralympics in Beijing
3. Massage Therapy is Popular Post-Cosmetic-Surgery, but should it be?
One focus for massage therapists working with cosmetic surgery clients should be massage and bodywork contraindications, said author and educator Selena Belisle. “Unfortunately,” she wrote, “the increase in aesthetic applications has created an alarming number of botched plastic surgeries and cosmetic procedures.”
Fillers, Fat Grafting and Foreign Materials: Why Massage is Contraindicated for Many Cosmetic Procedures
4. NFL Quarterback Deshaun Watson’s Alleged Abuse of Massage Therapists
NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson met with at least 66 massage therapists from late 2019 to early 2021. In June of 2022, 24 of those women filed lawsuits against Watson that contained accusations that ranged from sexual misconduct to sexual assault. As of August 1, 2022, the Cleveland Browns quarterback was issued a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
The NFL’s Deshaun Watson Problem: A Call to Action for Massage Therapists
5. Reach More Customers and Make More Money with Online Sessions
The lockdowns of 2020-2021 opened the door to community and connection using the internet, beyond anything we’d seen before. Massage therapists can expand their reach, increase their income and earn passive income by working virtually with the global digital community, said author Carey Benenson Taussing. In this guide, she gave massage therapists 10 techniques to build an online practice.
The MT’s 10-Step Guide to Offering Online Sessions
6. Massage Therapists Help Shape the Future of Integrative Health Care
the first International Consortium on Manual Therapies (ICMT) conference took place online from May 4-June 3. Practitioners and researchers from manual therapy fields including massage, osteopathy, chiropractic, structural integration and physical therapy met to collaboratively discuss the latest insights into manual therapies and to help shape future collaboration and research.
Massage Therapists: Help Shape the Future of Manual Therapies
7. Spas and Massage Franchises Face a Shortage of Massage Therapists
As the public became eager to get back to receiving regular massage sessions, the lack of qualified, employed massage therapists became clear. National massage franchises are responding to this labor shortage by increasing benefits, offering bonuses and overhauling company cultures—all in an effort to bring more massage therapists onboard.
Massage Franchises Offer Benefits, Bonuses and New Company Cultures in Response to Labor Shortage
8. COVID Trauma is Widespread in the US
COVID Trauma, sometimes called Collective COVID Trauma, is a new term mental health professionals use to describe the long-lasting effects of grief, loss and fear related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nonprofit Mental Health America notes in its report, “COVID-19 and Trauma: Communities in Need Across the US”: “As opposed to previous disasters in the US that affected certain specific regions or populations where aid and trauma response could be concentrated, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire population of the country.”
Clients with COVID Trauma Could Be On Your Table
9. A Father Channels His Love into The Jacquelyn Project
When Jacquelyn (Dahneke) Penrose was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, she underwent a common treatment route: chemotherapy, radiation and radical surgery. Her father, Marshall Dahneke, supported her through her treatment, and, wanting to share a hobby that had been important to Jacquelyn, he began to run. After Jacquelyn passed away in 2022, Dahneke is still running, in large part to remember his daughter—and now with an additional focus: to honor Jacquelyn by running the 2023 Boston Marathon and raising funds for massage therapy with some of those funds earmarked for cancer -related community service projects.
The Jacquelyn Project: Running for Massage Therapy
10. Some Massage Therapists Have Had a More Difficult Journey than Others
In 2022 MASSAGE Magazine published its second annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion issue. One of the articles in the 2022 issue was written by Benny Vaughn, an icon in the massage field for his work with athletes, his forging a path for massage therapy at the Olympic Games, and his new focus as a life coach. Vaughn pulled the curtain back on his experiences as a Black man in the Deep South in the 1970s striving to create a successful massage therapy practice.
Benny Vaughn: “How I Journeyed From the Jim Crow South to Great Massage Success”
11. Advice to Directly Support Multicultural MTs
We contracted with Toshiana Baker, founder of the Network of Multicultural Spa and Wellness Professionals, to create content to directly benefit and educate people who might not have as clear a path into this field as do other people. Part One ran in late 2022; Parts Two and Three will run in 2023. (The magazine won a 2022 Folio national magazine award for editorial content, for its 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion issue, which Baker also contributed to.)
Success Strategies for Minority-Owned Small Businesses, Part One: Technology
12. Massage May be Effective for Conditions Related to Long-Haul COVID
As more becomes known about the people living as COVID Long Haulers—those who recovered from a COVID-19 infection but continue to experience various symptoms, including fatigue and shortness of breath—the role of massage as a helpful therapy for these people is also coming to light.
Massage Techniques for COVID-19 Survivors Who Present with Shortness of Breath
13. After Two Years Apart, MTs Gather In-Person to Learn Hands-On Techniques
The years 2020 and 2021 provided the opportunity for CE providers to honor their online offerings, and many educators and therapists have embraced the opportunity to offer a hybrid model of education than this field has ever seen. What has become clear, say providers, is in-person and online education can, for many modalities, not only coexist but work effectively in tandem better than ever.
Welcome Back! In-Person Massage CE Returns to the Classroom
14. Massage Colleagues Tell You How to Make More Money
Plenty of business coaches have advice on creating and running a massage practice, but we decided to go straight to the source—massage therapists who make $60,000 or more annually (an amount that is about $15,000 more than what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says is an Average income for massage therapists—for specific techniques and approaches to increasing income.
5 MTs Share How They Earn an Above-Average Income
15. Self-Employed MTs Can Take Control of Their Finances
Being self-employed doesn’t mean you have to forfeit such typical employment benefits as health insurance and long-term savings. Our financial reporter, Lozelle Mathai, MBA, brought our readers the information they need to get their retirement and health houses in order.
Plan for Your Future: The 401K, IRA, SEP and Health Plans Available to the Self-Employed
16. Building Immune Health is an Important Self-Care Action
The immune system has been in the headlines since the beginning of the pandemic, and the many natural means of improving it fall under the category of self-care, said author Angela Lehman. Massage therapists take care of clients, and must also put attention on their health too.
The Fit MT: This is How Gut Health Can Super Charge Your Immune System
17. Ergonomics Can Extend a Massage Career
Authors with the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) reported on the MTF’s Ergonomics Project to bring our audience results from this study and actionable items—including using a softer floor surface and maintaining core strength— to implement in a massage practice right away.
Can the Right Ergonomics Really Extend Your Massage Career?
18. Now is Not the Time to Be a COVID-19 Slacker
In August, the CDC loosened its COVID-19 recommendations, while acknowledging we are still in a pandemic. This guest editorial reminded massage therapists to continue to commit themselves to the habits that create a safe and sanitized session room—now and into the future.
Straighten Up and Fly Right: Professional MTs Uphold COVID-19 Protocols
19. The Lymphatic System Matters to Clients and Massage Therapists
More people are understanding the importance of healthy lymph flow, and an increasing number of massage therapists are interested in learning lymphatic massage and lymphatic drainage. Regular contributor and educator Jimmy Gialelis explained the importance of supporting the lymphatic system.
The Lymphatic System: Flow is Essential to Health & Vitality
20. More Employers are Employing, Rather than Contracting with, Workers
Some state laws mandate that if a worker is treated a certain way, that worker must be considered an employee—and receive such attendant benefits as funds paid into Social Security. Traditionally in the massage field, many businesses have contracted with therapists as independent contractors, even when it wasn’t always legal to do so.
What is an Independent Contractor? Make Sure You’re Not Misclassified
21. With COVID, Flu, M-Pox and RSV Circulating, MTs Must Protect Their Health
While most clients cancel if they are feeling at all unwell, some clients do show up to an appointment symptomatic, said author Amy Bradley Radford. With COVID-19, Monkeypox (now called M-pox), flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) circulating freely, it is essential that massage therapists create policies and procedures to protect their own health.
Protect Your Health & Income: The Client Health Check-In
22nd MASSAGE Magazine Launches Inaugural Massage Therapist Appreciation Week and Organization of the Year Award
The purpose of Massage Therapist Appreciation Week is to show gratitude and support for all of the massage therapists who show up to help make the world better by facilitating pain relief and relaxation. The week reboots for 2023, from Jan. 23-27.
Massage Therapist Appreciation Week aims to Celebrate, Support & Reward Massage Therapists
In 2022, MASSAGE Magazine presented its first annual Organization of the Year Award to the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) for its continued advocacy and support of the massage community. The magazine created this award to offer a unique program to celebrate the massage field, and looks forward to making this Massage Champion of the Year award to other deserving organizations and individuals in the future.
MASSAGE Magazine Announces New Massage Champion of the Year Award
The 2022 Champion Award goes to AFMTE
Do you agree with our list? Let us know about news and developments you are, by sending an email to [email protected].
About the Author
Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor in chief–print and digital. Her recent articles for this publication include “A Move to Transcend State Boundaries: Updates on the Interstate Compact for Massage Therapists” and “This is How Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Practices Make Business Better,” one of the articles in the August 2021 issue of MASSAGE Magazine, a first-place winner of the national 2022 Folio Eddies Award for editorial excellence.