Americans Are Increasingly Turning to Massage for Health Needs


As the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) marks its 15th annual National Massage Therapy Awareness Week October 23 – October 29, 2011, more consumers are using massage therapy for pain relief and other health issues. In fact, according to a recent consumer survey commissioned by AMTA, consumers are progressively integrating massage therapy into their regular health maintenance routines.

“National Massage Therapy Awareness Week is intended to raise public understanding about the benefits of massage and this year we’re pleased that health benefits in particular are a key motivator for people seeking massage,” says Glenath Moyle, AMTA president. “Our recent survey shows that 90 percent of respondents perceive massage as effective in reducing pain and we think this is highly reflective of the good work done every day by our members across the nation.”
 
Hospitals are taking a cue from this growing trend of massage for health benefits. In a recent survey conducted for the American Hospital Association (AHA) by the Samueli Institute, 42 percent of hospitals surveyed offer some form of a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) service, and of those, 64% offer massage for outpatient treatment and 44% for inpatient treatment.
 
Consumers are also taking notice. According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, respondents indicated that they view deep-tissue massage, along with yoga and Pilates, as effective as prescription medication for the relief of back pain. These survey results build upon the foundation of growing research on this subject. Last year researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles reported findings demonstrating that people who received a Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can ultimately lead to a boost in the immune system.

“National Massage Therapy Awareness Week is a great time for consumers to have a discussion with a massage therapist about the best massage approach for their health needs,” says Moyle. “People can find a professional massage therapist through our free national online locator service.”
 
Consumers often ask what they can expect from a massage therapist. AMTA has published a list of expectations covering issues of respect and privacy between the massage therapist and client, and to promote dialogue between the two. AMTA’s expectations for the massage recipient and the massage therapist include:
 
What Should Someone Expect from their Massage & Massage Therapist?

  • A clean, safe and comfortable environment before, during and after the massage
  • Respect, courtesy, confidentiality and dignity
  • Privacy while changing and right to remove clothing only to their level of comfort for the massage
  • Draped appropriately by a sheet, towel or blanket, with only the area being massaged exposed
  • A licensed/registered/certified professional massage therapist, working within their scope of practice and in an ethical manner
  • Option to ask questions of the massage therapist and receive professional responses
  • Determine if there will be conversation, music or quiet during the massage
  • An explanation of the nature of the massage and techniques to be used in advance of starting the massage
  • The right to consent to the massage techniques and approaches, including manual pressure, used in the massage

What Should a Massage Therapist Expect from their Client?

  • Respect, courtesy and dignity
  • Treated as a healthcare professional
  • Timely arrival at massage therapy appointment
  • Complete and accurate disclosure of health/medical conditions during intake process
  • Communication of expectations of and concerns about the massage
  • Payment at time of service
  • Reasonable notice (usually 24 hours) in cancelling a massage appointment

About AMTA
The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) is a non-profit, professional association of more than 56,000 members. AMTA professional members have demonstrated a level of skill and knowledge through education and/or testing and must meet continuing education requirements to retain membership. AMTA provides information about massage therapy to the public and works to improve the professional climate for massage therapists. The association also helps consumers and healthcare professionals locate qualified massage therapists nationwide, through AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist® free national locator service available at www.findamassagetherapist.org or toll-free at 888-843-2682 [888-THE-AMTA].

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