Joint Mending With a Cannabis Massage Therapist

Should cannabis oil become part of your massage routine?
Should cannabis oil become part of your massage routine? Shutterstock.com/ tcsaba
Thanks to tough advertising restrictions, CBD companies have to get clever if they want to raise brand awareness. Like taking advantage of National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, for example, which starts October 20. While most people are likely to think of sore muscles and relaxation when they hear about a week dedicated to massages, CBD companies see dates like this as an opportunity to woo a new group of consumers with CBD oils, lotions and balms, which have become popular additions to massages.

To learn more about CBD massages, we caught up with Katie Uveges, who will lead a free CBD massage class in Denver on Thursday, October 24, with Stratos CBD. (Find details in our Cannabis Calendar.)

Westword: When did CBD start becoming a factor in the massage world?

Katie Uveges: It has built slowly over the past five years. After cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2014, a tidal wave of cannabis products hit the market. Over time, the focus shifted from solely THC to including both THC and CBD, and now CBD products are booming in popularity. More and more products and information have become available to the public, and this has given massage therapists new options to offer our clients, and to utilize ourselves. I would say that CBD massages were done by a few practitioners here in Colorado as early as a few years ago, but the trend has really taken off this past year.

What can CBD add to a massage?

My clients use it as a holistic option to help with muscle soreness, anxiety, localized pain and inflammation relief, stress and overall relaxation. It all depends on the person and what they are treating. An athlete might utilize it to rejuvenate their muscles after a day of skiing, while another client may find it helps them to relax after a busy week. I always love using CBD products that incorporate a blend of essential oils to complement the therapeutic properties of CBD, such as Stratos’s Soothe CBD salve. The primary oil in this product is peppermint, which creates a bit of a cooling analgesic effect. This allows the product to move more efficiently into the tissue and activate the skin’s endocannabinoid receptors more quickly.

click to enlarge Katie Uveges will lead a CBD massage class October 24. - COURTESY OF KATIE UVEGES
Katie Uveges will lead a CBD massage class October 24.
Courtesy of Katie Uveges
What about THC? Are THC salves, balms and oils a part of private massages? What can they add?

When a THC product is used, it must be brought in by the client; I cannot sell THC products within my practice due to legality of distribution. I've had clients bring in products with THC, and the products can also contain both THC and CBD. It has been reported that the properties of cannabis or hemp are more beneficial when there are multiple cannabinoids; this is called the entourage effect. A product that contains THC and other components such as CBN or CBA may have a larger benefit as a result.

For those of you wondering if topical products will cause any psychoactive effects, the answer is no! These products are safe to use even if you do not want to feel any of the mental effects of THC. Many of my clients do not want to experience THC in their minds, but do want to reap the physical benefits that cannabis products provide. This makes topical products such as salves and lotions a perfect fit for any lifestyle.

In your experience, how accepting are massage therapists toward the idea of adding cannabis or CBD products to a massage?

Now that cannabis has been legal in Colorado for a while, I have noticed more and more massage therapists being open to the idea of utilizing cannabis in their practices. The benefits of these products far outweigh the outdated ideas that many people believe in regard to what they have been told are the “harmful effects” of cannabis. Fortunately, accurate information has been produced to the population as a result of legal research.

The only thing that some massage therapists may have an issue with is a decreased sensitivity in the hands during massage after using these products for multiple sessions, or long sessions if the full massage is infused.
Some choose to wear gloves to prevent this, which is less comfortable as it causes a similar desensitization. I personally love giving infused massages, as the products help with inflammation and pain I experience in the joints in my hands, wrists and arms in a physically demanding career. This is something that might persuade a hesitant therapist to try when you bring your products in!

Another great option is to add a layer of cannabis or CBD product at the end of the massage for each body area. I love the element that CBD and other cannabis products have added to my arsenal, especially since I am a pain-relief specialist. I want to provide my clients and myself with the best possible care, and topical cannabis products help me do this every day!
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell