The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) fifth annual summary research on the state of the massage therapy profession indicates the massage therapy marketplace is showing signs of improvement. Consumers are getting more massages, there are more massage therapists and they are making more money per hour than last year. The research also shows massage therapists are increasingly working in health care, one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, both as massage therapists and as other health care workers.
A detailed report focused on the meaning of the research for massage therapy schools and their students was released and discussed today at the AMTA 2012 Massage Schools Summit in Chicago.
Based on four surveys conducted for AMTA in recent months, and data from government agencies, the research continues to show that consumers ultimately determine the health of the massage therapy profession and that they accept the value of massage therapy as part of health and well-being.
“AMTA compiles and analyses a great deal of research each year,” says AMTA President Glenath Moyle, “to help our members and others in the profession better understand what is happening nationwide. This information is invaluable to all of us. Our profession and how massage is accepted by consumers and those in health care is changing rapidly and this is one way for all of us to keep up.”
Consumer research indicates the number of people in the U.S. who said they received a massage from July 2010 to July 2011 stayed steady compared to the year before. However, the number of massages they scheduled, compounded by a growing U.S. population, means the overall number of massages booked, went up by five percent.
Consumers also continue to strongly believe in the efficacy of massage, with 90 percent saying they believe massage can be effective in reducing pain, compared to 86 percent in 2010. Massage for medical reasons greatly increased in 2011, as consumers used massage to relieve pain, relieve soreness and recover from injury. Forty-four percent who got a massage said they sought it for medical reasons, compared to 35 percent in 2010.
Forty-seven percent of massage therapists indicated their business improved in the past year, compared to 44 percent in 2010. Last year also saw an increase in the average hourly income of massage therapists. On average, therapists earned $47.00 (including tips) per hour in 2011, vs. $41.00 in 2010. Sole practitioners receive the highest pay, while spa/salon workers get the lowest hourly wage. And, 73 percent describe themselves as sole practitioners, compared to 65 percent in 2010.
Massage Therapists also are increasingly using social media to stay in touch with clients. In 2011, 33 percent of therapists used a social media network to stay in touch with clients, a five percentage point increase over 2010. Facebook continues to be the most popular social network used by massage therapists.
Massage therapists receive referrals from a variety of health care professionals. In 2011, 96 percent of massage therapists received referrals at least once every six months from hospitals and medical offices, 90 percent received referrals from chiropractors and integrated health clinics, and 97 percent received referrals from other health care practitioners. Meanwhile, the number of hospitals that offer massage therapy either to inpatients or outpatients, continues to grow.
Read AMTA’s 2012 Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet.
The American Massage Therapy Association is the largest non-profit, professional association serving massage therapists, massage students and massage schools. The association is directed by volunteer leadership and fosters ongoing, direct member-involvement through its 51 chapters. AMTA works to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and public education on the benefits of massage.