NEWS > 17 February 2022
Massages are among the most sought-after treatments in spas and beauty centers around the world. The outbreak of the pandemic and the resulting climate of fear and uncertainty has driven consumers to seek the help of professional hands to restore balance and well-being.
Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna 2022 (28 April – 2 May) will focus attention on the art of the massage with the World Massage Meeting, an event dedicated to the latest and most innovative techniques presented by top masseurs from all over the world.
The event will give participants a chance to learn the secrets of the art from leading experts and operators, a response to the demand for quality and professionalism on the market.
Ivan Conversano, President of the European Massage Association (EMA), which partnered in the organization of the project, offers an exclusive look at the evolution of massage therapy as a key to development in beauty centers, the opportunities provided by the profession, and currently trending techniques.
Ivan, could you tell us how the concept of massage treatment has evolved over the past months? Is it fair to say that massage therapy is seen differently now than it was before the pandemic?
Over the past few months, especially with the ongoing pandemic, we have rediscovered an important component of the art of the massage: instilling a sense of safety in the customer. By safety, we are not simply referring to health or to keeping safe from the virus, but to a deeper and more personal dimension: to the confidence and energy that can be restored through the operator’s touch. A massage is, now more than ever, an important moment, a veritable journey of personal growth for the customer. But things have also (and above all) changed for operators.
Where are we at in terms of obtaining professional recognition for operators in Italy and abroad? What are the challenges for those who wish to specialize in this field today?
The recognition of qualified professionals remains fragmentary in Italy and in several European countries. Massage training is currently only recognized as part of a beautician’s training. Nonetheless, professional massage training is also provided by academies that prepare holistic practitioners, who are regulated by Italian Law 4/2013, which has resulted in the de facto NON recognition of these operators. There is no denying the fact that several loopholes have been created, especially in Italy, paving the way for deceptive titles such as “recognized course”, “masseur diploma”, etc. It's a situation that generates a great deal of uncertainty for those seeking an ethical and professional approach to the profession.
The challenge for 2022 is to get the associations that represent the various professions (beauticians, holistic practitioners, physical therapists, and osteopaths) to cooperate in pushing for an update to Law 4/2013, which fails to protect the professions that are recognized, does not protect holistic practitioners, and most importantly, does not protect end users, who – due to all this confusion – don't know who to trust. These days, those who intend to become professional masseurs need to go beyond a mere course or a three-year academy and engage in ongoing training to ensure that they are not outpaced by the competition and are able to offer their customers an excellent service.
Looking at the future and at trends in massage therapy: what technique is the most promising? What are the sources of inspiration for new body techniques?
Trends in new massage techniques start from the rediscovery of past traditions, while also responding to modern needs. Sensory experiences, ambience, the emotional experience of a massage, will make the difference. The most innovative techniques will come to Italy and to Europe from the countries that, in effect, currently possess the pioneering techniques of the 21st century. That especially includes the USA, UK, and China. These are certainly the countries that set the pace for personal care.
World Massage Meeting, the event dedicated to the most innovative body techniques, will take place in the Mall from April 29 to May 2.