Massage therapy, one of the nation’s fastest growing professions, is luring prospects to established schools in the San Fernando Valley such as the National Holistic Institute in Encino.

Student enrollment there has increased 35 percent so far this year, and despite the crumbling economy, job listings are as robust as ever.

“We’re placing 95 percent of our graduates in massage jobs,” said campus manager Joe Bob Smith

Smith said the massage therapy industry in California has especially benefitted from the downturn. Students are lured by the relatively short and affordable training as well as the prospect of good pay and a flexible work schedule. But more importantly, he added, there has been a gradual change in how the industry is perceived over the last few years, with it increasingly being considered a part of the healthcare industry.

— San Fernando Valley Business Journal, Woodland Hills, CA, Apr. 27