Massage therapists staying busy in down economy

Getting a handle on the nation's fiscal aches and pains can't be done in a day.

Rubbing out American's physical discomforts, however, is a different matter.

That's why area massage therapists are staying busy, even as the economy erodes discretionary spending power for many Americans.

"These guys who used to come in twice a year are coming in once or twice a month," said Clyde Randle, a licensed massage therapist who's worked at the Amon G. Carter Jr. Downtown YMCA in Fort Worth for 18 years. "It's just been a phenomenal year."

An informal, random poll shows that while some customers have trimmed the number of visits, massage therapists apparently aren't taking the beating that other workers are.

"I've been averaging four to six new people a month," Randle said, adding that although visits from overworked doctors are down, brokers and other financial types are coming more. "I'm seeing a different group of people who never came in before."

"The trend is pretty clear," said Nilda Tull, director at North Texas School of Swedish Massage. "If you don't have insurance, a lot people are turning to alternative methods. We have very good success in keeping them going."

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