Sun, Feb 23, 2020
∙ READING TIME: 3 MINUTES ∙


The first thing you need to know about Cannabis infused massage is that it doesn’t get you high. It’s euphoric. It’s transcendent. It makes you feel blissed out for hours. But it’s not psychoactive.

Licensed Massage Therapist Esther Yan uses Cannabis oil in her practice.

According to Crispin and others, massage practices that employ CBD in their massages see a significant increase in business and client retention.

That much is made clear by the intake forms that clients have to sign before receiving a Cannabis oil massage with Esther Yan from Portland.

Yan is one of a growing number of licensed massage therapists – LMTs – across the United States who have begun to employ Cannabis and hemp-derived concentrates in their massage practices.

As with many aspects of Cannabis-based therapies, not much hard data is currently available about the efficacy of Cannabis oil in massage. Much of what is available is anecdotal, but that information is undoubtedly growing.

Yan got the idea for using Cannabis oil in her massage a few years ago, when one of her massage school instructors told her it relieved the pain she experienced from fibromyalgia and allowed her to continue her practice.

Yan also felt inspired when her partner, Devan Anthony – who makes Cannabis tinctures and topicals at his Oregon-based company, Luminous Botanicals – introduced her to one of the nation’s leading voices on the use of Cannabis in massage, Julie Crispin.

Crispin is the current Government Relations Chair of the Oregon Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association.

In recent years, she has sought approval from the national office of the AMTA to endorse Cannabis oil massage, and while she has yet to get explicit approval, she has been given what she describes as a “long leash.”

For her, the evidence that Cannabis oil makes for a beneficial addition to massage is more than anecdotal. It’s personal.

“When I first started, I had De Quervayne’s Syndrome,” Crispin said. “I was getting cortisone injections in my wrists, and I was doing massage therapy with my hands. I did not start using Cannabis massage for my benefit. But it turned out, a year into my research, that I no longer had hand problems, and I could go back to working full time,” Crispin recalled. “It was almost like someone had to hit me with a 2×4, and say, ‘That’s the Cannabis, you dummy.’”

Crispin has since become an advocate for the use of Cannabis oil in massage, influencing regional and national companies to start using it in whatever forms are legal in their regions.

She currently runs MassageTopicals.com, an informational website on the topic.

According to Crispin and others, the massage practices that employ CBD in their massage see a significant increase in business and client retention.

“CBD topicals are the biggest trend I have seen in my 20-year massage and spa career,” said Eric Stephenson, Chief Wellness Officer for Elements Massage in Colorado, which recently started using CBD in their practice.

“Our CBD Herbal Ritual Massage at Elements Massage has many clients raving about relief from pain, inflammation and accumulated stress on their bodies,” Stephenson said. “When so many are commenting on the relief they are experiencing, you know there is something important going on.”

Before she started using Cannabis oil on her regular massage clients, Yan first tried it out on her friends. When they raved about it, she decided to start offering it to all interested clients. Even when it’s not obvious at first, she says it makes a difference.

“For some folks, they don’t really notice any difference until we decide, ‘Oh, let’s stop using it,’” Yan said.

“And then they notice how long the effects last after the massage. Sometimes they’ll say they don’t feel an overall full relaxation, where they want to go home and just kind of be Jello. Which is how they feel after the Cannabis massage.”

story by Tom Bowers @propagateconsultants | Yan portrait by Corrinne Theodoru @corrinnetheo