Massage parlor in Cambodia
|Names||Massage parlorist, massage therapist, masseuse, parlor professional, spa therapist|
|Competencies||knowledge in the manipulation of connective tissue and manipulative-based methods. In up-market stores you need a treatment license.|
A massage parlor is a business where customers can receive a massage. Activities in massage parlors can be similar to that among physiotherapists. A person who works in a massage parlor is called a massage therapist or masseuse. Massage parlors usually have sweet smelling oils, aromas scented candles, incense, oil diffusers and herbal extracts. Massages are often accompanied by quill music, ambient music, lounge music and Relax music in the background. Visitors usually lie on their stomach with their face placed in an opening on a bed. Visitors usually visit for entertainment, to enhance health and a sense of wellbeing or as a relief for various symptoms and sensory conditions such as muscle cramp, back pain, anxiety or fatigue. Some massages are conducted to induce a meditative experience, especially facial massages. Such massages are seen by some as therapy for the musculoskeletal system.
- 1 Layout and venues
- 2 Therapeutic or medical use
- 2.1 Practitioner associations and official recognition of professionals
- 2.2 Associated methods
- 2.3 Beneficial effects
- 2.4 Massage and proprioception
- 2.5 Regulation
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Layout and venues
Much massage takes place in homes or other informal settings for relaxation or as part of a sexual relationship. A wide range of books, videos, classes, oils, and other equipment is marketed at informal recreational massage. Commercial or therapeutic massage may take place in a setting hotel, spa, or massage parlor (typical of relaxation focussed or recreational massage), or in a therapist's practice (typical of therapeutic massage).
Tables and chairs
Specialized massage tables and chairs are used to position recipients during massages. A typical commercial massage table has an easily cleaned, heavily padded surface, and a horseshoe-shaped head support that allows the client to breathe easily while lying face down and can be stationary or portable, while home versions are often lighter weight or designed to fold away easily. An orthopedic pillow or bolster can be used to correct body positioning.
Ergonomic chairs serve a similar function as a massage table. Chairs may be either stationary or portable models. Massage chairs are easier to transport than massage tables, and recipients do not need to disrobe to receive a chair massage. Due to these two factors, chair massage is often performed in settings such as corporate offices, outdoor festivals, shopping malls, and other public locations.
A Vichy shower is a form of hydrotherapy which uses a series of shower nozzles which spray large quantities of water over the client while they lie in a shallow wet bed, similar to a massage table, but with drainage for the water. The nozzles may usually be adjusted for height, direction, and temperature to suit the clients needs.
Dry-water massage bed
A dry-water massage bed uses jets of water to perform the massage of the client's muscles. These beds differ from a Vichy shower in that the client usually stays dry. Two common types are one in which the client lies on a waterbed-like mattress which contains warm water and jets of water and air bubbles and one in which the client lies on a foam pad and is covered by a plastic sheet and is then sprayed by jets of warm water, similar to a Vichy shower. The first type is sometimes seen available for use in malls and shopping centers for a small fee.
Many different types of oils can be used including jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, almond oil, macadamia oil, sesame oil, pecan oil, mustard oil and (mineral) baby oil. Each oil has different properties and serves different purposes. Lotions, cremes and gels may also be used. Each lubricant has slightly different properties, and the choice tends to be a therapist’s preference. There are different views about the extent to which various oils and other substances are absorbed into the body through the skin. Salts are also used in association with oils to remove dry skin.
A body rock is a serpentine-shaped tool, usually carved out of stone. It's used to amplify the therapist's strength and focus pressure on certain areas. It can be used directly on the skin with a lubricant such as oil or corn starch or directly over clothing.
Therapeutic or medical use
The main professionals that provide therapeutic massage are massage therapists, athletic trainers, physical therapists and practitioners of many traditional Chinese and other eastern medicines. Massage practitioners work in a variety of medical settings and may travel to private residences or businesses. Contraindications to massage include deep vein thrombosis, bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners such as Warfarin, damaged blood vessels, weakened bones from cancer, osteoporosis, or fractures, bruising, and fever.
Practitioner associations and official recognition of professionals
The US based National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recognizes over eighty different massage modalities. The most cited reasons for introducing massage as therapy have been client demand and perceived clinical effectiveness.
Many types of practices are associated with massage and include bodywork, manual therapy, energy medicine, and breathwork. Other names for massage and related practices include hands-on work, body/somatic therapy, and somatic movement education. Body-mind integration techniques stress self-awareness and movement over physical manipulations by a practitioner. Therapies related to movement awareness/education are closer to Dance and movement therapies. Massage can also have connections with the New Age movement and alternative medicine as well as being used by mainstream medical practitioners.
Peer-reviewed medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced trait anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state of anxiety. Theories behind what massage might do include blocking nociception (gate control theory), activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which may stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, preventing fibrosis or scar tissue, increasing the flow of lymph, and improving sleep, but such effects are yet to be supported by well-designed clinical studies.
Massage is hindered from reaching the gold standard of scientific research, which includes placebo-controlled and double blind clinical trials. Developing a "sham" manual therapy for massage would be difficult since even light touch massage could not be assumed to be completely devoid of effects on the subject. It would also be difficult to find a subject that would not notice that they were getting less of a massage, and it would be impossible to blind the therapist. Massage can employ randomized controlled trials, which are published in peer reviewed medical journals. This type of study could increase the credibility of the profession because it displays that purported therapeutic effects are reproducible.
Single dose effects
- Pain relief: Relief from pain due to musculoskeletal injuries and other causes is cited as a major benefit of massage. Acupressure or pressure point massage may be more beneficial than classic Swedish massage in relieving back pain. However, a meta-study conducted by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign failed to find a statistically significant reduction in pain immediately following treatment.
- State anxiety: Massage has been shown to reduce state anxiety, a transient measure of anxiety in a given situation.
- Blood pressure and heart rate: Massage has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate as temporary effects.
Multiple dose effects
- Pain relief: When combined with education and exercises, massage might help sub-acute, chronic, non-specific low back pain. Furthermore, massage has been shown to reduce pain experienced in the days or weeks after treatment.
- Trait anxiety: Massage has been shown to reduce trait anxiety; a person's general susceptibility to anxiety.
- Depression: Massage has been shown to reduce subclinical depression.
Massage has been shown to reduce neuromuscular excitability by measuring changes in the Hoffman's reflex (H-reflex) amplitude. A decrease in peak-to-peak H-reflex amplitude suggests a decrease in motoneuron excitability. Others explain, "H-reflex is considered to be the electrical analogue of the stretch reflex...and the reduction" is due to a decrease in spinal reflex excitability. Field (2007) confirms that the inhibitory effects are due to deep tissue receptors and not superficial cutaneous receptors, as there was no decrease in H-reflex when looking at light fingertip pressure massage. It has been noted that "the receptors activated during massage are specific to the muscle being massaged", as other muscles did not produce a decrease in H-reflex amplitude.
Massage and proprioception
Proprioceptive studies are much more abundant than massage and proprioception combined, yet researchers are still trying to pinpoint the exact mechanisms and pathways involved to get a fuller understanding. Proprioception may be very helpful in rehabilitation, though this is a fairly unknown characteristic of proprioception, and "current exercises aimed at 'improving proprioception' have not been demonstrated to achieve that goal". Up until this point, very little has been studied looking into the effects of massage on proprioception. Some researchers believe "documenting what happens under the skin, bioelectrically and biochemically, will be enabled by newer, non-invasive technology such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and continuous plasma sampling" .
Because the art and science of massage is a globally diverse phenomenon, different legal jurisdictions sometimes recognize and license individuals with titles, while other areas do not. Examples are:
- Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) Canada
- Remedial Massage Therapist (RMT) New Zealand
- Certified Massage Therapist (CMT) New Zealand
- Licensed Massage Practitioner (LMP)
- Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT)
- Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist (LMBT) North Carolina
In some jurisdictions, practicing without a license is a crime.
In Canada only three provinces regulate massage therapy: British Columbia, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) has set a level of 2,200 practice hours in both Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, and 3,000 hours in British Columbia, which has the highest education standard in North America. Quebec has a voluntary registration under the Quebec Federation of massage therapists (FMQ) or the Alliance Québécoise des Thérapeutes Naturels (AQTN), but neither are regulated by provincial law.
Most types of massage, with the exception of some traditional Chinese medicine are not regulated in China. Although illegal in China, some of the smaller massage parlors are fronts for prostitution. These are called falangmei (发廊妹 "hairdressing salon sisters").
France requires three years of study and two final exams in order to get a license 
In Germany massage is regulated by the government on a federal and national level. Only someone who has completed 3,200 hours of training (theoretical and practical) can use the professional title "Masseur und Medizinischer Bademeister" or Medical Masseur and Spa Therapist. This person can prolong his training depending on the length of professional experience to a Physiotherapist (1 year to 18 months additional training). The Masseur is trained in Classical Massage, Myofascial Massage, Exercise and Movement Therapy. During the training they will study: Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Gynecology, Pediatry, Psychiatry, Psychology, Surgery, and probably most importantly Dermiatry and Orthopedics. They are trained in Electrotherapy, and Hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy includes: Kneipp, Wraps, underwater Massage, therapeutic washing, Sauna and Steambath. A small part of their training will include special forms of massage which are decided by the local college, for example: Foot reflex zone massage, Thai Massage etc. Finally a graduate is allowed to treat patients under the direction of a doctor. He is regulated by the professional body which regulates Physiotherapists. This includes the restriction on advertising and oath of confidentiality to clients.
In India, massage therapy is licensed by The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (India) in March 1995. Massage therapy is based on Ayurveda, the ancient medicinal system that evolved around 600 BC. In ayurveda, massage is part of a set of holistic medicinal practices, contrary to the independent massage system popular in some other systems. In Siddha, Tamil traditional medicine from south India, Massage is termed as "Thokkanam" and is classified in to nine types, each for specific variety of disease.
In Japan, shiatsu is regulated but oil massage and Thai massage are not. Although prostitution is illegal, prostitutes posing as massage therapists in fashion health shops and pink salons are fairly common in the larger cities.
In Mexico massage therapists, called "sobadores", combine massage using oil or lotion with a form of acupuncture and faith. Sobadores are used to relieve digestive system problems as well as knee and back pain. Many of these therapists work out of the back of a truck, with just a curtain for privacy. By learning additional holistic healer's skills in addition to massage, the practitioner may become a curandero.
In many parts of Mexico prostitution is legal and prostitutes are allowed to sell sexual massage. These businesses are often confined to a specific area of the city, such as the Zona Norte in Tijuana.
In New Zealand, massage is unregulated. There are two levels of registration with Massage New Zealand, the professional body for massage therapists within New Zealand, although neither of these levels are government recognised. Registration at the Certified Massage Therapist level denotes competency in the practice of relaxation massage. Registration at the Remedial massage therapist denotes competency in the practice of remedial or orthopedic massage. Both levels of registration are defined by agreed minimum competencies and minimum hours.
In Thailand, Thai massage is officially listed as one of the branches of Thai Traditional Medicine, recognized and regulated by the government. It is considered to be a medical discipline in its own right and is used for the treatment of a wide variety of ailments and conditions. Massage schools, centers, therapists, and practitioners are increasingly regulated by the Ministries of Education and Public Health in Thailand.
There are no national regulations relating to commercial massage or massage therapy in the UK, although various jurisdictions have licensing requirements for businesses performing massage.
In December 2007, the Manchester Evening News removed all advertisements for massage parlours from its personal columns. The move followed a meeting between ministers and newspaper and advertising industry representatives. It also followed comments by Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, in the House of Commons on October 25 that some local newspapers were promoting slavery by running sex adverts for foreign women. The meeting between the government and news and advertising industries - chaired by Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker - included Ms. Harman, Margaret Hodge - a junior minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Solicitor General Vera Baird, Newspaper Society Director David Newell, Christopher Graham from the Advertising Standards Authority, Baroness Buscombe of the Advertising Association, and Roger Wisbey of the Committee of Advertising Practice. Mr. Coaker said after the meeting, on November 1, 2007: "We agreed a number of important steps today, and will continue to work together.
The Government will continue to work with the Police and Local Authorities, and the Newspaper Society has committed to strengthen its guidance to local papers on what adverts to accept, and to raise awareness of this link to trafficking.
This is just one strand of a range of initiatives, which together will work to eradicate this intolerable trade once and for all."
In August 2012, the Manchester Evening News reinstated massage parlour ads. Many other local newspapers who had initially withdrawn these advertisements had already realised they were a lucrative source of income and had begun advertising again.
According to research done by the American Massage Therapy Association, as of 2012 in the United States there are between 280,000 and 320,000 massage therapists and massage school students. Most states in the United States have licensing requirements that must be met before a practitioner can use the title "massage therapist", and some states and municipalities require a license to practice any form of massage. If a state does not have any massage laws then a practitioner need not apply for a license with the state. However, the practitioner will need to check whether any local or county laws cover massage therapy. Training programs in the US are typically 500–1000 hours in length, and can award a certificate, diploma, or degree depending on the particular school. There are around 1,300 programs training massage therapists in the country and study will often include anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, massage techniques, first aid and CPR, business, ethical and legal issues, and hands on practice along with continuing education requirements if regulated. The Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) is one of the organizations that works with massage schools in the U.S. and currently (Aug 2012) there are approximately 300 schools that are accredited through this agency.
Forty-three states, the District of Columbia and five Canadian provinces currently offer some type of credential to professionals in the massage and bodywork field---usually licensure, certification or registration. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia require some type of licensing for massage therapists. In the US, 32 states use the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork's certification program as a basis for granting licenses either by rule or statute. The National Board grants the designation Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCTMB). There are two tests available and one can become certified through a portfolio process with equivalent training and experience. Between 10% and 20% of towns or counties regulate the profession. The National Certification offered by the NCBTMB does not mean that you can practice massage in any state. These local regulations can range from prohibition on opposite sex massage, fingerprinting and venereal checks from a doctor, to prohibition on house calls because of concern regarding sale of sexual services.
In the US, licensure is the highest level of regulation and this restricts anyone without a license from practicing massage therapy or by calling themselves that protected title. Certification allows only those who meet certain educational criteria to use the protected title and registration only requires a listing of therapists who apply and meet an educational requirement.
In late 2007, the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards launched a new certification exam titled the MBLEx. Currently, 41 states have accepted this certification exam.
In 1997 there were an estimated 114 million visits to massage therapists in the US. Massage therapy is the most used type of alternative medicine in hospitals in the United States. Between July 2010 and July 2011 roughly 38 million adult Americans (18 percent) had a massage at least once.
People state that they use massage because they believe that it relieves pain from musculoskeletal injuries and other causes of pain, reduces stress and enhances relaxation, rehabilitates sports injuries, decreases feelings of anxiety and depression, and increases general well being.
In a poll of 25- to 35-year-olds, 79% said they would like their health insurance plan to cover massage. Companies that offer massage to their employees include Allstate, Best Buy, Cisco Systems, FedEx, Gannett (publisher of USA Today), General Electric, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, JC Penney, Kimberly-Clark, Texas Instruments, and Yahoo!. In 2006 Duke University Health System opened up a center to integrate medical disciplines with CAM disciplines such as massage therapy and acupuncture. There were 15,500 spas in the United States in 2007 with about a third of the visitors being men.
The number of visits rose from 91 million in 1999 to 136 million in 2003, generating a revenue that equals $11 billion. Job outlook for massage therapists is also projected to grow at 20% between 2010 and 2020 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or faster than average.
The massage therapy industry in the US is continuously increasing, with a projected 19% increase between 2008 and 2019. U.S. consumers spend between $4 and $6 billion on visits to massage therapists, as of 2009. As of 2007, thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia required some type of licencing for massage therapists. Most states in the United States have licensing requirements that must be met before a practitioner can use the title "massage therapist", and some states and municipalities require a license to practice any form of massage. If a state does not have any massage laws then a practitioner need not apply for a license with the state.
In January 2011, an investigation by Time Out New York found New York City massage parlors charging a "house fee" (which is usually paid, up front to the parlor's mama-san) of $60 to $100 per visit, Most of the massage parlors reviewed were very strict about the female masseuse not being touched by the male client, but, in some parlors, further contact could be negotiated.
As of 2005, more than 200 other massage parlors (that did not openly advertise and were operated largely out of private homes and apartments) were serving mainly Latino clients made an average of at least $800,000 a year.
Erotic acts performed at massage parlors can range from a basic "happy ending" to "full service". Some, mostly Asian, massage parlors offer a naked "table shower" or an "Asian body slide" as well as access to a sauna before a massage takes place.
Many massage parlor operations in the USA have switched from advertising on Craigslist to advertising on Backpage because of recent pressure from outside groups. Other publications in major metropolitan areas of the USA have been under pressure in the past to not advertise massage parlor operations as well.
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