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62 DAYSPA | JULY 2014 In its 22 years as a nonprofi t for the professional massage sector, the National Certifi cation Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB, ncbtmb .org) has served nearly 80,000 massage therapists— and seen a lot of changes. DAYSPA recently spoke with NCBTMB chair Dr. Leena Guptha, and chair-elect Bruce Baltz, for their perspectives on the ever-evolving mas- sage industry. —Linda Kossoff DAYSPA: How would you describe the state of the massage industry today as compared to 10 or 20 years ago? Leena Guptha: It is far more recognized as a profession to- day. Ten years ago, there were approximately 18 states that regulated the massage indus- try; today it's 40, with other states offering some form of regulation. This distinguishes the profession as a trade, and enables us to work with part- ners such as spas and medical establishments. Bruce Baltz: There are more opportunities for MTs now, especially in the spa world. The quality of treatment has increased as well, and thera- pists are better able to articu- late what they're practicing. Guptha: Education has ad- vanced over the last decade. Years ago, there were a number of programs that offered a small certifi cate or diploma, but now there are schools that offer as- sociate's and bachelor's degrees. A full education is incorporated into the program. Do you think aspiring MTs receive enough business education? Guptha: That's one area in which we can advance. I be- lieve that's one of the trends we're going to see come to the forefront within the next 10 years. Another is greater research literacy among MTs, so that we're not only providing health benefi ts, but we're able to verify them. For instance, Duke University is doing a study on the impact of massage therapy on osteoarthritis of the knee, and it's showing positive results. What are today's MTs' employment options? Guptha: Spas are the No. 1 employer of MTs—and schools are recognizing this, which is why they're in- cluding classes on spa technique. However, MTs may still set up a private practice, work with a chiropractor or be in a medical environment. Also, each scenario has its own terms of agreement, and may involve being an employee or an independent contractor. Demographically speaking, who is the typical massage therapist in the U.S.? Baltz: It has changed. When I was in massage school 20 years ago, the average age of a student was mid- to upper-20s, with some people right out of college and some middle-aged people in re-training. Now we're seeing more students right out of high school. For working MTs, there's still an approximate 75%-to- 25% female-to-male ratio, especially in spas, so we have a ways to go in accepting and understanding male MTs. There are many scenarios in which clients, YOUR WELLNESS SPA Snapshot Leading With Massage BRUCE BALTZ LEENA GUPTHA ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM Y o u r W e l l n e s s S p a . i n d d 6 2 Your Wellness Spa.indd 62 6 / 3 / 1 4 1 1 : 4 1 A M 6/3/14 11:41 AM