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2007 Massage Therapy Consumer Survey Fact Sheet

Wellness Drives Americans' Growing Use of Massage Therapy

Almost a quarter of all adult Americans (24 percent) had a massage at least once in the last 12 months, and more than a third (34 percent) have received a massage in the last five years, according to a survey sponsored by the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®).

While 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 of their overall health and wellness.

Massage therapy for pain relief

  • Almost one-third of adult Americans say they've used massage therapy at least one time for pain relief—just behind those who have turned to chiropractic (38 percent) and physical therapy (44 percent).
  • Of people who had at least one massage in the last five years, 30 percent report that they did so for health conditions such as pain management, injury rehabilitation, migraine control, or overall wellness.
  • By comparison, only 22 percent had massages for simple relaxation, and just 13 percent for a "special indulgence."

People know about the role massage therapy plays in maintaining health and wellness…

  • 87 percent agree that massage can be effective in reducing pain.
  • 85 percent agree that massage can be beneficial to health and wellness.
  • 59 percent would like to see their insurance plans cover massage therapy

...and many are beginning to act on this knowledge

  • Almost one in five (19 percent) report discussing massage therapy with their doctors or healthcare providers.
  • Of those 19 percent, more than half (58 percent) said their doctors recommended or encouraged it.

Massage for health conditions finds a strong audience among baby boomers

Baby boomers have more massages:

  • Respondents aged 45 to 64 have had an average of almost 7 massages during the past 12 months, while those aged 18 to 44 have had an average of five.
  • Among those who have had a massage in the past five years, boomers have had an average of just under 20 massages compared to an average of about 10 for those aged 18 to 44.

Boomers are more tuned into massage's medical benefits:

  • Thirty-eight percent of respondents aged 45 to 64 said the massages they've gotten were for medical reasons, compared to 25 percent of survey respondents aged 18 to 44.
  • 23 percent of people ages 45 to 64 have discussed massage therapy with their doctors or healthcare providers, compared to 18 percent of those 18 to 24.

Who's getting and giving the gift of massage

When it comes to giving massage as a gift to a spouse or significant other, men are on board.

  • Of the men who gave massage as a gift, 58 percent gave it to their spouse, and 32 percent chose a "significant other."
  • In comparison, women's gifts of massage went to spouses just 28 percent of the time and only 14 percent went to a significant other. Forty-one percent gave massage as a gift to a friend and 39 percent to a family member.
  • Overall, women are more likely than men to give gift massages (32 vs. 23 percent).

When it comes to usage of massage, women use it more often than men. However men's usage has increased.

  • 43 percent of women have had a massage in the last five years compared to 25 percent of men.
  • However, 17 percent of men had a massage in the last 12 months compared to only 12 percent last year.
  • A male-female "yin and yang" seems to characterize the use of massage for health reasons: women are more likely to have discussed massage therapy with their doctors (24 percent vs. 14 percent), but men have massages for medical reasons more often than women (35 percent vs. 27 percent).

How to Find a Professional Massage Therapist

Finding a professional massage therapist is vital to a positive massage experience.

AMTA massage therapists have demonstrated a level of ability through education and/or testing, adhere to a code of ethics and must meet continuing education requirements. AMTA offers a free professional massage therapist locator service on the Web at www.findamassagetherapist.org or toll-free 1-800-THE-AMTA.

About the Survey Findings

The annual consumer survey was conducted by CARAVAN® Opinion Research Corporation International during July 2007, among a national probability sample of 1,008 adults (502 men and 506 women) ages 18 and older, living in private households in the continental United States. The survey has a confidence level of plus or minus three percent. Commissioned by AMTA, this is the eleventh annual massage therapy survey of American consumers.

About AMTA

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) is a professional association of more than 57,000 members. 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 professional 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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Kim K., AMTA member since 2003

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AMTA has long been the leading choice among massage therapists looking to establish themselves within the profession. We provide our members with the strongest benefits and promote massage therapy to the public and health care community.

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