Massage Industry Snapshot

Recently AMTA compiled its annual Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet, and it shows that even with changes in the economic environment, the profession and uses of massage therapy continue to hold their ground.

Who Gets Massage, Where and Why?

According to AMTA’s annual consumer surveys, since 2003 an average of 21 percent of adult Americans have had at least one massage each year and an average of 32 percent have had a massage in the previous five years. In 2008, 20 percent of adult Americans had a massage at least once. And, spas are where most people now receive massage, with 23 percent of those surveyed in 2007 saying this is where they had their last massage.

While the use of massage is growing, the reasons people are turning to massage therapy are also expanding. More and more people recognize it as an important element in their overall health and wellness:

  • Almost one-quarter of adult Americans say they’ve used massage therapy at least one time for pain relief.
  • Of the people who had at least one massage in the last five years, 31 percent say they did so for health conditions such as pain management, injury rehabilitation, migraine control or overall wellness.
  • 36 percent had massage for stress relief and 38 percent said they would consider using massage for stress relief or management.
  • 88 percent agree that massage can be effective in reducing pain.
  • 87 percent agree that massage can be beneficial to health and wellness.

Who is Today’s Massage Therapist?

Today’s massage therapists are most likely to enter the massage therapy profession as a second career. They are also:

  • Predominantly female (88 percent).
  • In their early 40s, on average.
  • Most likely to be members of a professional organization.
  • Most likely to be sole practitioners.
  • Giving an average of 41 massages per month.
  • Likely to provide massage in a number of settings, including their own homes or offices, a spa or salon, a health care setting, health club or athletic facility, or massage-therapy-only franchise or chain.

Massage and Health Care

Health care providers are discussing the benefits of massage with their patients more often. In July 2008, 13 percent of adult Americans reported discussing massage therapy with their doctors or health care providers. And of those 13 percent, more than half (57 percent) said their doctor strongly recommended or encouraged it. Sixty-nine percent of massage therapists receive referrals from health care professionals.

Massage therapy use in hospitals is becoming more common, too. The number of hospitals offering massage therapy increased by 30 percent from 2004 to 2006. Of the hospitals that have massage therapy programs, 71 percent say they offer massage for patient stress management and comfort, while 67 percent also use massage for pain management.

Get the entire Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet for more insight into the massage therapy profession.

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