I’m standing in a dimly lit room with a table in front of me. There is soothing music emanating from my right. The question I’m asking myself is, “What exactly is my level of comfort?”
I quickly undress and fight to entirely cover myself with the sheet while I awkwardly climb onto the heated massage table before Rose returns. She begins by asking a few questions and massaging my back. I opted for the Swedish Massage — the most popular — with some deep tissue for the problem areas. She also works my legs, arms and face. Before I know it, 50 minutes have passed and Rose informs me she will wait outside with a glass of water.
This was my first experience at Massage Envy. I thought I should give them a try since, in my free time, I regularly beat myself up hiking, canyoneering and rappelling. Toting a load that weighs more than 50 pounds — for multiple days backpacking or canyoneering — full of wet ropes, webbing and gear tends to make one’s shoulders and back awfully sore.
I was at the newest location in Tempe Marketplace. Massage Envy opened in 2002 with its first store at the Loop 101 and Scottsdale Road. It has or is planning on opening 862 locations with more than 600 already open. Arizona currently has 30 locations.
The International Spa Association (ISPA) confirms that Massage Envy is now the largest spa chain in the world. It performs more than 1 million services each month to more than 920,000 members. Despite a sluggish economy, membership is up 23% from 2009.
Massage Envy’s philosophy is three-fold:
- Professionalism: 100% of its therapists are trained and licensed, where required;
- Affordability: $49 a month in Arizona;
- Convenience: Locations are open evenings and weekends so people can get pain or stress relief when they need it — often without even making an appointment.
Massage Envy is the world’s largest employer of licensed/registered therapists, with more than 16,000 therapists providing more than 250,000 massages every week. In March 2010, it performed its 20-millionth massage. In 2008, Massage Envy partnered with skin care giant Murad, Inc. to launch a new concept: Massage Envy Spa. Murad is one of the world’s most respected skincare companies and was founded by a professor of dermatology at UCLA.
New for 2011 are two signature services: the “Choices” program of:
- Deep Heat Relief Muscle Therapy
Massage Envy is also active in the community. It has partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and raised more than $1.8 million for the breast cancer organization.