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AMTA 2000 Consumer Survey Fact Sheet

Oct. 17, 1997

2000 Massage Therapy Consumer Survey Fact Sheet

Following are findings of a survey conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation, Princeton, NJ, and commissioned by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). The survey was conducted July 20, 2000 among a national probability sample of 1,006 adults (506 men and 500 women) ages 18 and older, living in private households in the continental United States. The survey has a confidence level of plus or minus 3 percent.

This is the fourth annual survey of American consumers commissioned by AMTA. Opinion Research Corporation conducted its first survey of consumers on massage by telephone on June 5 1997.

More people getting massage

  • Twice as many adult Americans report receiving one or more massages from a massage therapist in the past year (16 percent) as did in 1997 (8 percent). The number who report getting a massage each year has steadily increased. In 1999, 15 percent said they had a massage in the past year; in 1998, 13 percent said they had done so.

  • Twenty-one percent of Americans expect to get a massage from a massage therapist in the next 12 months.

Hispanics and massage

  • Twenty-seven percent of Hispanics report getting a massage in the past five years — 25 percent of the total population say they had a massage in the past five years. In the past 12 months, 16 percent of adults report getting a massage – 15 percent of Hispanic adults say they did.

  • Twenty-eight percent of Hispanics say they plan to get a massage this year.

Take time for massage

  • Approximately 20 percent of Americans continue to say that the primary reason they don’t get a regular massage is that they are too busy. This figure has varied little since 1997, with 20 percent giving this reason this year, 21 percent in 1999, 18 percent in 1998, and 24 percent in 1997. People understand its benefits, but say they are too busy to take the time to get a regular massage.

All income groups get massage

  • Twenty-three percent of adults with family incomes of $50,000+ had a massage from a massage therapist in the past twelve months. The income groups with the second highest rate of massage in the past twelve months were those with incomes under $15,000 and those with incomes of $35-50,000 (15 percent). Those with family incomes of $25-35,000 were next at 14 percent, then those with incomes of $15-25,000 at 10 percent.

Massage at all ages

  • Twenty-one percent of Americans ages 35-44 report getting at least one massage in the past 12 months. While thirty-one percent of that age group report having a massage in the last five years.

  • Massage is popular among all age groups. Following are figures for the age groups of people who have had massage in the past 12 months: ages 18-24 (14 percent); ages 25-34 (16 percent); ages 35-44 (21 percent); ages 45-54 (17 percent), ages 55-64 (13 percent), and age 65+ (11 percent).

Why get a massage?

  • Almost one third of adults (29 percent) say that medical reasons would motivate them to get a massage. [Some medical reasons include: muscle soreness/stiffness/spasm (10 percent); to reduce pain (6 percent); for injury recovery and rehab (4 percent); for wellness and prevention (2 percent); greater joint flexibility or range of motion (2 percent); or because of a medical prescription or physician recommendation (2 percent).]

  • Twenty percent report that they would seek therapeutic massage for relaxation and 10 percent say they would seek massage for stress reduction.

  • Twenty-seven percent think of massage as something that is both therapeutic and feels good (compared to 24 percent in 1999, 19 percent in 1998). While 42 percent view it as therapeutic and 23 percent say it just feels good.

Positive view of doctors

  • Of the 14 percent of adults who spoke to their doctors about massage therapy, 71 percent report that the conversation was favorable about massage and 20 percent report the conversation was neutral.

  • Among Americans 65+ years old who spoke with their doctors about massage, 84 percent say the conversation was positive.

Women vs.men

  • More women than men got one or more massages in the past 12 months (18 percent vs. 13 percent).

  • More women than men expect to get one or more massages from a massage therapist in the next 12 months (25 percent vs. 17 percent).

Regional differences

  • West Coast residents had the highest percentage saying they had a massage in the past 12 months (21 percent). Figures for the rest of the country were 16 percent in North Central states and 14 percent in the South and Northeast. While more people in the West and South expect to get a massage in the next 12 months (28 percent in the West and 21 percent in the South).

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) is a professional organization of 43,000 members in 30 countries. AMTA Professional members have demonstrated a level of skill and knowledge through education and/or testing. New Professional members must be graduates of training programs accredited or approved by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA); be graduates of AMTA Council of Schools member-schools; be Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork; or have a current AMTA-accepted city, state or provincial license.

The American Massage Therapy Association provides information about massage therapy to the public. The association also helps consumers and health care professionals locate qualified massage therapists nationwide, through its Find A Massage TherapistSM national locator service. The free national locator service is available via AMTA’s Web site  and toll-free at 888.843.2682 [888.THE.AMTA].


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