Massage Makes Me Happy Initiative

2021 Trends

TREND 1: Massage Usage Increase

More people will be turning to massage for spiritual growth and emotional wellbeing in addition to direct physical health benefits. And that is why Massage Makes Me Happy and Healthy! The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted people to evaluate their lives and identify what’s really important to them. Consumers are experiencing touch deprivation (2020 COVID-19 study showed 68% touch-deprived); massage will be in high demand for that alone. Also, many are engaging in a higher level of self-care than normal. Self-care will continue to be at the forefront, and massage fits in perfectly with a self-care plan. Also, the requests for in-home massages have increased, and this has resulted in an increase in the portable massage table market. We have also seen more massages done outdoors in the fresh air.

TREND 2: Increased Consumer Savvy

Massage clients are becoming more discerning as they learn about the range of modalities, services, products and technology. For instance, they want to know if a practitioner has extensive training in a given modality—and not just a short class. There is an increased desire for organic products (from linens to lubricants).

TREND 3: Hygiene and Vaccination Protocols

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the public’s awareness of how easy it is to transmit certain diseases. Practitioners will need to continue the elevated sanitary protocols they put into place at the beginning of this pandemic. In addition to practitioners communicating their hygiene protocols, clients will expect to see practitioners taking sanitizing measures, such as wiping down door handles, washing their hands before touching clients, and using fresh linens, and many clients will want the practitioners to wear masks. Practitioners will need to continue the elevated sanitization through stocking masks, gloves, sanitizing products and enough linens so that nothing is used more than once before it’s washed. Practitioners need to ensure that all surfaces are sanitized and remove anything touchable that cannot be sanitized. Also, if a practitioner is unable to open a window in the treatment room to “air it out,” a HEPA filter might be needed.

To feel safe, clients will demand that science-based sanitation protocols are in place and will expect to be pre-screened. Consumers are now more aware of hygiene practices, and as such, they may choose not to be serviced by an unvaccinated professional. According to AMTA’s latest research, consumers are paying more attention to cleaning and safety procedures in businesses (49%) and vaccine availability (34%) before booking a massage*. The massage professional isn’t required to be vaccinated or show their vaccination record, but certainly, more consumers will ask the question and make a choice in their massage care based on their comfort level.

*AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association)

TREND 4: Growing Beyond Hemp

Without a doubt, the CBD trend continues. Consumers are looking for additional ways to aid self-care and reduce the use of narcotic drugs to relieve pain. The ongoing opioid awareness effort will continue to capture consumers seeking alternative care options. CBD usage will increase in terms of direct application in massage treatments and products for therapists to sell to clients for their self-care at home. Beyond CBD, we are seeing more CBN (cannabinoids) products on the market. Minor cannabinoids of hemp are showing major market potential in wellness. CBN is a nonintoxicating compound best known as the cannabinoid created when THC ages, usually present in high amounts in older hemp and cannabis. Keep in mind, current research on CBN is limited, yet studies suggest CBN may be effective in the human body as an antibacterial, neuroprotectant, appetite stimulator and sleep enhancer. From full spectrum to broad spectrum to isolated molecules, the hearty and healing hemp plant has much to offer!

TREND 5: Massage and Technology Tools

This industry continues to develop tools that therapists can incorporate into practice and make available for clients’ home care. Clients may be choosing to enhance their hands-on sessions with technology (ranging from hand-held devices to full-blown at-home spa equipment). Also, practitioners will be implementing tele-connecting with clients, for instance, offering self-massage classes on Zoom. Light therapy is a growing trend to support rehabilitation and relaxation across a variety of massage and spa services. Finally, we have seen an increase in hydromassage.

TREND 6: Global Massage Makes Me Happy Day

Global Massage Makes Me Happy Day is celebrated on March 20 of every year to highlight the benefits of massage therapy. It launched in 2018 and is celebrated at the same time as the International Day of Happiness. Each year, consumers, spas, wellness centers, massage schools, associations, businesses, the media, researchers and individual practitioners promote this day, and many hold activities to coincide with this event.