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

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

Deborah Szekely
Deborah Szekely

Deborah Szekely First Inductee in Spa & Wellness Hall of Fame

In 1940, healthy eating, exercise and stress reduction were considered radical concepts—yet that didn’t stop wife-and-husband team Deborah and Edmund Szekely from founding Rancho La Puerta spa.

Today, 82 years later, Rancho La Puerta welcomes some 140 guests each week to its 4,000 private acres of gardens, mountains and meadows in Baja California, Mexico. Also today, Deborah Szekely, at 100 years old, lectures and teaches at the spa, which is now overseen by her daughter, and serves on various boards. To honor her commitment to the spa and wellness spheres, Deborah Szekely has been named the first inductee to the Spa and Wellness Hall of Fame (, established by Leisure Media.

The hall of fame will serve as a historical record of the pioneers who forged ahead with health and wellness concepts and achievements, and will be maintained and archived by Leisure Media’s publication, Spa Business.

“Our industry saves lives and changes lives, and we believe it will be one of the most important industries of the future,” said Leisure Media’s CEO Liz Terry. “As a result, it’s vital we have a way to preserve the amazing stories of the people who have made it happen.

“The first generation of experts who founded the wellness industry at the turn of the last century are being forgotten,” said Terry. “Part of our work at WellHOF will be to reach back in time and to ensure that we tell their stories, so we can see where we’ve come from, as well as looking powerfully to the future.”

In 1958, Deborah Szekely founded The Golden Door spa in Escondido, California. She has been appointed to several presidential fitness councils starting in 1970, and is a founding board member of the International Spa Association. From 1984 to 1991 she worked as a U.S. Diplomat in Washington, D.C., serving as president of the Inter-American Foundation, an independent agency of the U.S. government created by Congress in 1969 to support grassroots development throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, according to press materials from Rancho La Puerta. In 2012 she was awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest honor bestowed on an individual who is not a Mexican citizen.

New Study Pegs Timeframe of Venous Thromboembolism Following COVID-19

A study by Swedish researchers provides new information about the effect of COVID-19 on deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and bleeding. The study suggests that COVID-19 is an independent risk factor for these conditions; the research also suggests that the risk of these outcomes is increased for three, six, and two months after COVID-19 infection, respectively.

Venous thromboembolism refers to a blood clot that starts in a vein. are two types: deep vein thrombosis, a clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg; and pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a DVT clot breaks free from a vein wall, travels to the lungs and then blocks some or all of the blood supply, according to the American Heart Association.

Deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and bleeding are contraindicated for massage therapy.

Previous studies had indicated thatCOVID-19 increases the risk of venous thromboembolism. The new study found a higher risk of events in patients with comorbidities, patients with more severe COVID-19, and during the first pandemic wave compared with the second and third waves.

Source: “Risks of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and bleeding after covid-19: nationwide self-controlled cases series and matched cohort study,” British Medical Journal.

22 Million

The estimated top figure reflecting the number of long COVID patients who may be added to the U.S. population of disabled people. Long COVID-19 sufferers may present with shortness of breath, neurological issues or fatigue, among other conditions.

—Source: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


Mindbody Launches Funding Program

Mindbody, a business-software company specializing in the wellness field, has announced the launch of Mindbody Capital, an offering designed to provide wellness businesses with access to funding.

Businesses that participate in Mindbody Capital receive non-recourse financing with a one-time capital fee. Funding provided through Mindbody Capital is paid back based on a flat percentage of future sales with no minimum payments.

MASSAGE Magazine interviewed a Mindbody representative to bring massage therapists details about the program.

MASSAGE Magazine: Is there an income requirement for securing capital? If so, what is that amount? 

Mindbody: There is no income requirement for Mindbody Capital. Instead, offers are based solely on business performance–not personal financial history–and there is no application or credit check required. Eligible customers that accept an advance from Mindbody Capital will receive it within two business days and can invest the funds however they see fit. 

MM: Is interest charged on repayment? If so, what is that rate? 

MB: Eligible customers that accept Mindbody Capital funding pay a simple, one-time fee. From there, the financing is paid back automatically through a flat percentage of daily sales. This means owners pay more when their sales are strong, less when sales decrease, and nothing when the business is closed. This percentage varies based on the business and the amount of financing. Regardless, there are no monthly minimums, late fees or recurring interest.

MM: What is the timeframe for repayment? 

MB: Mindbody Capital was designed to work with businesses. Because of this, there is no strict timeframe for repayment. The payback will continue in the form of a flat percentage of daily sales automatically deducted until the full amount and one-time fee have been repaid. This flexibility is especially valuable when operating in an industry that is both heavily seasonal and quickly evolving.

iFlex logo

New Stretching Franchise Concept Begins

The first iFlex Stretch Studio—an assisted stretching studio—has opened in Chandler, Arizona, with plans to grow this type of studio nationwide. iFlex Stretch Studios were launched by the founders of The Joint Chiropractic, a nationwide network of more than 600 U.S. chiropractic franchises.

iFlex Stretch Studios utilizes a technique called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), which helps trigger neurological responses and reprogram muscles, according to a company statement. Using this technique, iFlex has developed a series of assisted stretches that address general stress relief, neck tension, neuromuscular issues related to golf, tennis and running, as well as stresses that are common among active adults.

“We are very excited to be offering this high-demand service to the Chandler and greater Phoenix community, and look forward to growing iFlex Stretch Studios into a nationally recognized and sought-after brand,” said James Adelman, president and CEO of iFlex Stretch Studios.

10% to 20%

The reduced risk of death achieved by engaging in 30 minutes of lifting weights, yoga or yard work weekly.

—Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine, in an analysis of 16 studies spanning a half-million people.

Kelsey Bowlds (L) and Hunter Morrison
Kelsey Bowlds (L) and Hunter Morrison

Students Win Myoskeletal Massage Scholarship

The 2022 student winners of the Erik Dalton Scholarship Award are Hunter Morrison and Kelsey Bowlds, students at Indiana State University.

Erik Dalton, PhD, creator of Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques, partnered in 2012 with the university to create the Advanced Myoskeletal Massage Therapy program, the only minor degree in massage therapy program offered by a major U.S. university. Students from this program commonly enter into grad school programs in athletic training, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant and osteopathic medicine. To provide assistance to students and encourage other universities to follow suit, Dalton established an endowment to fund scholarships.

Read “The MASSAGE Magazine Interview: Erik Dalton, PhD.”

Hand & Stone logo

Hand & Stone to Measure Employees’ Voice

Massage franchise Hand & Stone has partnered with employee engagement company goHappy to “measure the voice” of its frontline employees—massage therapists, spa associates and estheticians—through employee engagement surveys. 

“Providing tools for our franchise owners to maximize engagement and retention remains a key strategic initiative for Hand & Stone in 2022 and beyond,” said John Teza, CEO of Hand & Stone. “As part of our new ‘Voice of the Employee’ initiative, our franchise owners are incorporating tools from goHappy into their talent management systems”

Teza added, in a company release, that Hand & Stone knows how important the company’s service providers and spa associates are to its business, and that employee feedback will help educate franchise owners and managers on what they’re doing well, as well as potential areas of development.

Legislation Updates

Legislative Updates

California: In March, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals announced it was working with the American Massage Therapy Association to introduce state licensing legislation. Currently, the state’s massage therapists may obtain voluntary certification through the California Massage Therapy Council; this certification allows therapists to perform massage anywhere in the state without having to obtain a local permit. 

New York: AB-A8281 would decriminalize the unlicensed practice of massage therapy, as well as decriminalize the aiding or abetting of unauthorized or unlicensed practice of massage therapy. Sponsors of the bill say it will improve working conditions for employees at “massage parlours” and ease trauma and financial burdens related to arrest. Currently in the state, providing an unlicensed massage is charged as a misdemeanor or E felony, the lowest felony charge available. (Sources: New York Senate; Queens Daily Eagle.)

Oregon: Proposed new rules require massage therapists to follow the Oregon Health Authority standards related to vaccination and wearing masks or face-shields, related to controlling the spread of communicable diseases, including COVID-19. Another rule stipulates that any massage therapist performing breast massage must acquire specialized training and identify therapeutic rationale for the treatment. Proposed rules also reduce in-person, contact education from 15 to eight CEs per year. (Source: The Oregon Secretary of State’s Oregon Bulletin for March 2022.)

Utah: SB 180 would create two lower-tier classifications of massage practice: massage assistant and massage assistant in training, and would establish qualifications and scope of practice for those classifications. A massage therapist would be allowed to supervise up to six people licensed as a massage assistant or assistant in training. Assistant applicants must have completed 300 hours of training; an assistant may work under supervision for no more than six months. Licensed massage therapists in the state are opposing this bill, saying it could have a detrimental effect on their practices and on public protection. Utah MTs can contact their representative here to voice concern about this bill: (Sources: Utah State Legislature SB180; ABC News.)

Kentucky: In vetoing HB 8, which proposed a 6% sales tax on any not-medically-necessary massage session (as well as on with several other types of business services), Gov. Andy Beshear said the bill“imposes new taxes that weaken public safety, harm vital industries, undermine economic development incentives, and threaten Kentucky’s future economic security.” (Source: Louisville Courier Journal.)

Minnesota: Legislation introduced in the state that would have mandated licensure of both massage therapists and practitioners of Asian bodywork were not assigned to nor heard by a committee in time to move forward during this legislative sessions; however, the bills will be on the 2023 legislative sessions’ calendar. (Sources: Minnesota SF 1074 and HF 1275; ABMP.)

Washington: with the signing into law of Senate Bill 5753, the state board of massage will grow from four to seven members appointed by the governor for a term of four years each. Five members will be massage therapists; one member will be a consumer; and one member will be a massage school owner or educator. (Source: State of Washington.)

Karen Menehan

About the Author

Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor in chief–print and digital. Her reporting on COVID-19 for this publication includes “This is How Hand Sanitizers Help Stop the Spread of Viruses & Bacteria,” and “As Clients Return, Massage Therapists Vanquish Touch Deprivation.”