January 5, 2009 — The following articles are the top 15 most-read news stories for December on MASSAGEmag.com.

A news item on the health rankings of U.S. states topped the list, followed by several marketing and practice-building articles, as well as health and industry news.

If you’d like to publish the latest massage news on your Web site, MASSAGE Magazine recently implemented a news feed program—available at no cost—to legitimate massage and bodywork sites. For more information, contact Jennifer Whalen, associate editor of integrated media, at apayne@MASSAGEmag.com.

Top 15 most-read news stories—December
1. Health Rankings of U.S. States Announced
Massage therapists see clients at varying levels of health—from those experiencing chronic conditions to top athletes. A new study parses health information for Americans according to geographic region, and ranks all 50 U.S. states from healthiest to least-healthy. … Read More

2. Holiday Marketing and the Gift of Massage
For savvy massage spas and studios, ‘tis the season to build your business. That’s because veteran certified massage therapists and seasoned business owners know the holidays are the best days to market a classic gift: therapeutic massage. … Read More

3. Creating a More Professional Image
can be a bit tricky for a massage therapist to create a sophisticated, professional and yet relaxed environment all within the same space. It is important to understand the needs of clients from the moment they enter the space and provide them with the overall experience they are seeking. This means reviewing the reception or entrance area, changing areas and treatment rooms for continuity of professional image, cleanliness and appeal. … Read More

4. Spa Trends for 2009
A top spa company released its Top 10 Spa Trends To Watch In 2009 on Dec. 3. … Read More

5. Natural Health Degree Career Resource Centers Launch
Natural Healers researches natural health careers to make the prospective holistic health students’ job easier. … Read More

6. Are All Continuing Education Contact Hours Equal? 
Even massage therapists and bodyworkers who have been in practice for many years are sometimes confused by the terms continuing education unit, contact hour, CE hour, CE credits or CEU. The confusion is understandable as many providers, some states and marketing materials tend to use the terms interchangeably. There is in fact a difference between these terms, and this article will help you to navigate the CE waters. … Read More

7. Relax, Recharge and Renew                                                                                                          Relaxing, recharging and renewing are pieces of advice that are easier to give than to receive. Loved ones often encourage their family and friends to get a little “R&R” by treating them to spa services, such as massages. But what happens when those providing relaxation services are feeling burned out? … Read more

8. Massage Instructors’ Education Center Launches
A just-launched center will provide education for massage instructors. The Body Therapy Institute, a COMTA-accredited school of massage, bodywork and somatic therapies, announced the opening of its Center for Teacher Education on Dec. 2. … Read More

9. New Spa Textbook Released
Massage therapy has long been the most utilized service at spas, and spas are the largest employer of massage therapists. … Read More

10. Avoid Interview Pitfalls 
From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Spa Success: From Resume to Interview, How to Land the Job You Want,” by Natalie Tessler, in the December 2008 issue. Article summary: Learn how to determine what spa employers are looking for, choose the spa you want to work at, and polish your resume and interview skills in order to land the job of your dream. … Read More

11. Guest Editorial: Demand High-Quality Education
As a business owner and a massage therapist, I am concerned to see that as the massage industry grows and large corporations get involved, the quality and integrity of this industry is diminishing. A fast-growing industry always attracts those who are out to make a quick profit—but with money and profit as the focus, quality and standards in services and education can go by the wayside. Although we all certainly want a successful business and a good profit, don’t we also want to ensure the highest quality of service and care for our clients? … Read More

12. The Un-Comfort Zone with Robert Wilson: Don’t Get Stuck in Reverse
I love this quote by Gandalf the Grey from the book Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien: “When we despair we cease to choose well. We give in to short cuts.” It’s so true, and we all know we have been guilty of it at some point in our lives. … Read More

13. When Choosing an Electronic Tool, Construction Matters
From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Electronic Massage Tools: Increase Efficiency and Extend Your Career,” , in the December 2008 issue. Article summary: The use of electric and electronic tools is gaining popularity in massage settings, proving to assist client outcomes while boosting practitioner income. … Read More

14. Research Exclusive: Massage Boosts Mood, Immune Function and Relaxation 
From the MASSAGE Magazine department, Research Reports, in the December 2008 issue. Article summary: Massage on healthy adults provided significant improvements in mood, immune function and serum cholesterol levels, according to recent research. … Read More

15. Chronic Pain Linked to Brain Changes
Relief from pain is one of the primary reasons clients receive massage therapy. A new study shows that people with a specific type of pain syndrome may have accompanying changes in the areas of the brain related to emotion, pain perception and skin temperature. … Read More