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MarketResearch which claims to be the “world’s largest and continuously updated collection of market research,” says that stress represents one of the leading health concerns among Americans today – especially women. So it’s not surprising that massage therapy has become one of the fastest-growing industries around.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, from 2006-2007 the number of certified massage therapists grew from 250,000 to 300,000. Last year, Money Magazine and Salary rated the profession of massage therapy in their top 12 list of jobs designed “for young professionals ready for a new challenge based on opportunities, salary and personal fulfillment,” and their research predicted a 24 percent increase in job growth.
Little wonder that Elements Therapeutic Massage, a quickly developing franchise, settled a spa in Naperville IL about two months ago. Franchise owner Nathan Toensing said the massage business is a natural extension of other business interests of his, including personal training and chiropractic services.
AT A GLANCE
Elements Therapeutic Massage
Where: 3075 Book Road, Naperville
Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday to Sunday
“We live in stressful times, and there are people who say they are tired of treating themselves with pills and tablets and want something different,” Toensing said. “There’s too much of the ‘drive-through’ pharmacy thing. Our approach here is different. We want to treat the whole person.”
Toensing says too many other massage therapists “rub ’em and leave ’em,” but Elements Therapeutic Massage looks to extend benefits beyond a 55-minute session. Manager Ken Herold, who has overseen the massage center during its first two months of business, said the focus is on the “wellness” component for clients.
“We try to give people techniques and tips about how to manage their stress level and increase their health and wellness between visits,” Herold said. “Ours is a proactive approach. We try to incorporate wellness and fitness together.”
Elements Therapeutic Massage employs five therapists who have each completed more than 500 hours of training. The company itself was launched about eight years ago in Colorado, and the first franchise store opened in Massachusetts 13 months ago. Since then, 100 franchise stores have come on board. The Naperville store will soon be joined by another location planned for Bloomingdale.
So far, clients in Naperville have ranged from folks in their early 20s through seniors in their 70s. Herold said that “a lot of high school kids came in near the end of May before taking their finals.” The gender ratio favors women about 60 percent, but Herold said men are coming in at a much higher percentage than they do nationally.
“Our numbers of men to women are sort of atypical,” he said. “I think people find our facility a lot more ‘gender’ friendly.”
Clients receive either a 55- or 80-minute massage. Herold explained that the therapist isn’t prodding and pushing on patients the entire time, but works with each person to find his or her comfort level between deep massage and rest.
“It’s all about the comfort of the individual and establishing what approach you plan to use on the first day,” he said.
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