Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet

Read an overview of the current state of the massage therapy profession compiled by AMTA.

While the massage industry was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, this community has once again shown that the industry will bounce back. The numbers from AMTA and other surveys in 2020 look different than in past years and continue to change quickly. We will continue to update this information throughout 2021 to show the latest information available around the massage industry.

Who is Getting Massage?

Gender, age and income affect the likelihood of massage use.

One shift from past research shows that men are now more likely than women to get a massage. 

Last year 22% of men and 20% of women got a massage.

Consumers with children under the age of 18 at home are more likely to get a massage than those without children at home. 

Income has an impact on how likely consumers are to get a massage. While 34% of those making $100,000 or more got a massage last year, only 15% of those making $50,000 or less got a massage. 

 

Where Are Consumers Getting Massage? 

  • In 2020 42% of female consumers and 40% of male consumers got a massage in a spa
  • 38% of consumers got a massage at a massage therapist’s office
  • 36% of consumers visited a massage franchise or chain in 2020 – and 21% of female consumers and 16% of male consumers got their last massage at a name brand chain in 2020.
  • 6% of consumers got a massage at their home or the home of someone they know in 2020
*Some consumers may not know the difference between a spa, franchise, and often a massage therapist's office. 
graph showing top places consumers get massage

Where Are Consumers Getting Massage? 

  • In 2020 42% of female consumers and 40% of male consumers got a massage in a spa
  • 38% of consumers got a massage at a massage therapist’s office
  • 36% of consumers visited a massage franchise or chain in 2020 – and 21% of female consumers and 16% of male consumers got their last massage at a name brand chain in 2020.
  • 6% of consumers got a massage at their home or the home of someone they know in 2020
*Some consumers may not know the difference between a spa, franchise, and often a massage therapist's office. 
graph showing why consumers get massage

Why Do Consumers Get a Massage?

Nearly half of all massage consumers got their last massage for health and wellness reasons. 

Just 19% of consumers list pampering as their primary reason for their last massage, and 28% of consumers received a massage for pampering in the last year. 

Nearly half of consumers got a massage last year for relaxation or stress reduction. 

Men are more likely than women to discuss massage therapy with their doctor or health care provider. 

In 2020, 30% of consumers who got a massage for health and wellness reasons stated it was part of a treatment plan from a doctor or medical provider. 

What are the health and wellness reasons for massage?

Where do clients find massage therapists?

While most massage therapists don’t actively promote client-to-client referrals, at just 38 percent, that is the most common way clients find a massage therapist, at 90 percent.

The next most common way to find massage therapists is online and on social media.  

graph showing how clients find a massage therapist

Where do clients find massage therapists?

While most massage therapists don’t actively promote client-to-client referrals, at just 38 percent, that is the most common way clients find a massage therapist, at 90 percent.

The next most common way to find massage therapists is online and on social media.  

graph showing how massage therapists find clients

Where do massage therapists find clients?

The average massage therapist uses more than four outlets of communication to promote their practice.

Websites and Facebook are the most common digital tools massage therapists use to promote their practice.

63% of massage therapists had websites for their practice – and those working as employees reported 66% of their employers had a website.

Half of massage therapists received referrals from physicians at least once every 6 months.

Three quarters (75%) of massage therapists referred clients to another massage therapist at least once every 6 months.

Who Is Practicing Massage Therapy?

The number of massage therapists has increased by 19% over the last decade. The profession is predominately female at 88%. Nearly half of massage therapists (41%) have a bachelor's degree or higher. Massage therapy was rarely the first career choice for most massage therapists, regardless of practice setting. 

 

Where are massage therapists practicing?

  • 72% of massage therapists describe themselves as sole practitioners
  • 11% work in more than one practice setting
  • 40% of massage therapists provide massage in their offices
  • 32% provide massage in their homes

COVID-19 and the Massage Industry

What kinds of business changes are consumers looking for in response to COVID-19?

Consumers are paying attention to cleaning and safety procedures in businesses (49% ) and vaccine availability (34%) before booking a massage.

How has COVID-19 impacted the massage profession?

As of April 2020, 86% of massage therapists stated they had stopped working. In November 2020 79% stated they were back at work.

Massage therapists are changing their work practices and cleaning and appointment procedures due to the pandemic. This includes more time between appointments to allow for additional cleaning. 

The pandemic has also meant massage therapists needed more supplies, and new supplies never before needed to run their business. The majority of these new and increased supplies are face masks (82%, cleaning products (82%) and hand sanitizer (81%).

Download the 2020 Fact Sheet

Better understand your clients and the massage profession. Grow your practice with this quick glance guide, based on AMTA's 2021 Massage Profession Research Report.

Download the Fact Sheet