SEATTLE, WA. (Jan. 28, 2011):   As a vice president for Massage Envy, CG Funk says that hiring a professional staff of qualified massage therapists, knowledgeable in all aspects of massage therapy is the most important part of her job.

“Our priority is hiring an expert staff that can address the varied needs of customers, whether it’s massage for stress relief, injury recovery or much needed relaxation,” Funk says. Massage Envy, founded in 2002, has 634 locations and more than 800,000 monthly members across the U.S.

Cortiva Institute School of Massage Therapy, with locations in 11 states nationwide, is one of the foremost providers of professional massage therapists to Massage Envy. In the Seattle area alone, Cortiva graduates are employed at 12 Massage Envy locations.

Massage therapy providers like Massage Envy are going a long way toward helping to educate the public to the importance of making professional massage therapy part of a continuum of health and wellness. And the message seems to be getting out because demand for massage therapists is on the rise. According to a recent report in U.S. News and World Report, massage therapist careers are one of the “50 Best Careers of 2011,” showing strong growth over the next decade. “As massage therapy becomes more popular, employment is expected to grow faster than average—19 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Labor Department,” says the report.

“One of the reasons the career of massage therapy is on the rise may be that the public is becoming better educated to the medical benefits of massage therapy,” says Dina Bennett, president of Cortiva Institute — Seattle. She attributes that awareness to massage therapy research that is making headlines.

For example the result of a recent study reported in the New York Times demonstrated that even a single session of massage causes biological changes including significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of the immune system.

In addition to being a growing career, the massage therapy industry is growing. A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine points out that “massage today is considered a routine part of sports and wellness,” with clients appreciating the convenience and accessible pricing of massage providers like Massage Envy.

Bottom line, says Funk, their business depends on having massage practitioners who can speak knowledgeably to the client about the result they want from a massage and then offer the expertise and skills to help achieve that result. “Cortiva grads come to us knowing how to make each client interaction a positive experience,” she says.

About Cortiva Institute

Cortiva Institute is a community of Massage Therapy Schools with 11 locations nationwide, offering full and part-time massage therapy instruction, continuing education courses, student clinics that are open to the public, and career services for graduates. Cortiva schools take a holistic and integrated approach to ensure that our graduates are prepared to work in clinics, hospitals, health clubs, spas, resorts, sports therapy clinics or start their own private practices. Go to for more information.