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This selection of massage news articles will help you keep on top of what’s happening in the massage therapy industry

PTSD May be a Systemic Disorder

Massage therapy has been found to support relaxation and stress release, and is oftentimes used by people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A new study published in Cell Reports Medicine studied the blood of active-duty soldiers and veterans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan where they witnessed trauma.

Their samples reveal molecules activated in inflammation, oxidative stress, metabolic dysregulation, and impaired formation of new blood vessels, according to a press release. Scientists think they may be involved in scenarios as varied as wound healing, cardiovascular problems and mental distress.

The analysis revealed alterations in which genes that were activated and which proteins and metabolites were circulating, changes that correlated with the severity and duration of symptoms in the 340 veterans (300 males and 40 females) and 180 soldiers (159 males and 21 females) they studied.

“PTSD is coming to be seen as a systemic disorder rather than as a purely psychological illness,” the authors wrote. 

Is Remote Work Healthy?

Some of your massage clients might be people who work remotely, from home, and who are experiencing health challenges unique to that type of work situation.

In the U.S. right now, an estimated 22 million people are working from home all the time. That figure represents 35% of workers with jobs that can be done remotely, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Beginning in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the closure of offices nationwide, and remote work is now a permanent fixture. Before the pandemic, just 7% of people in the U.S. worked from home, according to Pew.

While 75% of remote workers believe their work-life balance has improved and 62% say remote work positively affects their work engagement, according to job-search company Zippia, there are also drawbacks, with 50% of remote workers claiming to feel lonely at least once a week.

Beyond that emotional toll, health experts believe remote work could pose risk of blood clots, weight gain, myofascial pain, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as first reported by Changing America in the article “Remote Work Poses Risks to Physical Health.”

Such conditions are largely due to inactivity. Remote workers report walking just 16 steps between their bed and their workstation, according to a survey from health app Upright; and 40% of remote workers reported sitting more than eight hours a day, in an analysis by Stanford University.

A survey from All About Vision eye care company found that screen time has increased, up to 13 hours a day for many remote workers, with attendant vision problems and neck pain.


The amount a self-employed massage therapist could be eligible to receive if they missed work in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions or illness. Apply for the Federal government’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act via a self-guided, online portal offered by the Professional Beauty Federation.

Declaration Supports CAM

An international consortium that holds the vision of a world where people have full access to traditional, complementary and integrative health care and such care is fully embedded into national health care systems invites you to sign a declaration supporting this intention.

At the heart of the People’s Declaration for Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Healthcare is a call to action that all countries:

• Ensure full access to TCIH as part of the right to health for all

• Include TCIH into national health systems

• Provide accreditation of TCIH healthcare professionals in accordance with international training standards to ensure high quality care

• Ensure access and safety of TCIH medicines through specific regulatory pathways

• Fund research on TCIH and disseminate reliable information on TCIH to the public

“The People’s Declaration calls for the respectful collaboration between traditional, complementary and biomedical practices with the aim of achieving a person-centered and holistic approach to health,” a statement from the group reads. “Full access to traditional, complementary and integrative healthcare should be part of the right to health.”

The timing of the declaration dovetails with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) focus on traditional, complementary and integrative health care: The WHO has begun the development of a new traditional medicine strategy 2025-2034, in response to requests by its Member States at the World Health Assembly in May. The WHO has, in the meantime, extended its current traditional medicine strategy (2014-2023) until 2025.

The declaration is sponsored by 11 organizations from across the globe, including, from the U.S., the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicineall focused on traditional, complementary and integrative health care.


The percentage of the U.S. population that is 65 years of age or older, up from 13.1% in 2010. By 2030, this figure is projected to increase to 20%. —Source: USA Facts.

Meta-Analysis: Massage Reduces Cancer-Related Fatigue

 A study published in Support Care Cancer in July was designed to investigate the effectiveness and safety of massage therapy in cancer-related fatigue (CRF) and to provide a reference for the future management of CRF.

Eight databases (PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Sinomed, Chinese Scientific Journal database (VIP), Wanfang, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI)) were systematically reviewed from inception to May 2022 for randomized controlled trials.

Two reviewers critically and independently assessed the risk of bias using Cochrane Collaboration criteria and extracted correlated data using the designed form. A total of 11 qualified studies that included 789 patients (massage therapy group: 389; control group: 400) were included in the meta-analysis.

The meta-analysis, “Massage therapy significantly improves cancer-related fatigue in cancer patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials,” found: Massage therapy had a marked effect on fatigue in cancer patients, especially in breast cancer and Chinese massage can have a more significant effect on fatigue.

“Massage therapy can be effective in relieving fatigue in cancer patients,” stated the authors. “Current evidence suggests that reflexology is the most effective approach to relieve fatigue, particularly in the breast cancer patients. The optimal intervention frequency and cycle for massage therapy is twice a week for three to five weeks, and the optimal duration is 20 to 40 minutes.

Entrepreneurs’ Brains Show Higher Connectivity

Do you run a massage practice? Your brain might be the better for it. A new study has found evidence of increased neuronal connectivity in the brains of entrepreneurs, which may contribute to distinct cognitive attributes.

Using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), the study showed that serial entrepreneurs have higher connectivity between the right insula (associated with cognitive flexibility) and the anterior prefrontal cortex (a key region for exploratory choices), compared to their fellow managers, according to a press release. “These results, published in the journal Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, suggest that serial entrepreneurs possess greater cognitive flexibility, enabling them to alternate effectively between exploration and exploitation, a balance that can support success,” the release noted.

The study was conducted by a multidisciplinary research team led by HEC-School of Management at the University of Liège and Liège University Hospital.

Legislative Updates

Alabama: HB192 was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey in June. It allows for the continuation of the state massage board until October 2024. It also lowers fees for massage therapists and mandates the board report sex acts to law enforcement. It also provides for board of massage meetings to be recorded. (Source: LegiScan,

Nevada: In late May, Nevada became the first state to enact the Interstate Massage Compact. SB161 adopts the Interstate Massage Compact, creating a multistate license with uniform licensing requirements, including a national licensing examination, for use by licensees in all member states. Four other states—Georgia, Nebraska, Ohio and Washington—have introduced legislation to adopt the compact. (Source: Interstate Massage Compact)

Foot Massage Improves Peripheral Edema, Sleep Quality

A new study indicates food massage helps heart failure patients suffering from peripheral edema and poor sleep quality. The randomized experimental study’s sample comprised 60 adult patients halved between an intervention group and a control group.

In the intervention group, foot massage was applied once a day for 10 minutes on each foot for a total of seven days and then peripheral edema and sleep quality were evaluated. No application was made to the control group.

Data were collected using a personal information form, a foot measurement record form for monitoring peripheral edema, and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Forms were completed at the beginning of administration and at the follow-up at the end of seven days (baseline and last follow-up). Statistically significant improvements were found in peripheral edema and sleep quality levels of the intervention group compared with the control group, starting from the fourth session of the foot massage application (P < .001).

“The Effect of Foot Massage Applied to Patients With Congestive Heart Failure on Peripheral Edema and Sleep Quality” was published in the May/June issue of Holistic Nursing Practice.

Franchises Expand Menus

• Saltability and Massage Envy Spas have launched a pilot test program in the South Florida area for Saltability’s Restore Himalayan Salt Stone Massage treatments. Approximately 40 Massage Envy Spas in metro Miami have added Saltability’s Himalayan Salt Stone massage to their menus. The Himalayan salt stone massage offers benefits that differentiate it from traditional stone treatments, the release stated, as it replenishes and nourishes the body with minerals while alkalizing the skin. 

• Massage Heights franchise company has launched a new facial service, LED Light Therapy, available at select retreats nationwide. Partnering with LightStim and their FDA-cleared technology, the newest service features two treatments designed to reduce wrinkles and treat acne and its inflammation.

Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa has expanded its menu with Cryoskin, a noninvasive facial and body-contouring treatment. Services include CryoSlimming, which helps encourage the reduction of inches, CryoToning, a skin tightening and toning treatment, and the CryoFacial, which delivers a firm and glassy finish to the skin. Hand & Stone is now piloting another modality, CryoSoothe, which delivers relief to acute or chronic areas of pain and soothes arthritic flare-ups.

Read “Massage Franchises Offer Benefits, Bonuses and New Company Cultures in Response to Labor Shortage.”

About the Author

Karen Menehan

Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor-in-chief for print and digital. Her articles for this publication include “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.