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Massage Today
December, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 12

What Your Clients Want: National Board Survey Results

By Editorial Staff

A recent survey commissioned by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) details consumer perceptions on massage therapy, and perhaps hints at where the profession should direct its training, education, and regulatory efforts.

The survey, polled with Harris Interactive in October 2001, queried a random sampling of Americans who report receiving massage and bodywork treatments each year. Among the survey's findings:

  • More than half of respondents (52%) listed stress relief as their primary reason for receiving massage; thirty-six percent reported receiving massage as part of injury rehabilitation.
  • Half of all respondents said that they "always or usually" inquire about a practitioner's training when visiting a massage therapist for the first time.
  • Consumers believe that a practitioner's credentials (i.e., whether he/she is licensed or otherwise credentialed) is the most important consideration when choosing a massage therapist.
  • Nearly three out of every four prospective clients (71%) note that practitioner ethics are "extremely or very important." Only 11% believe that ethics are not a significant factor to consider when choosing a massage therapist.

What do these results mean to you? It's clear that a surprising number of your clients (and/or potential clients) place great value on the integrity and professionalism involved in the work you do. Whether seeking your services for relaxation, rehabilitation, general health benefits, or any other reason, consumers want to feel confident that you are providing expert, professional care.

NCBTMB Executive Director Christine Niero, PhD, echoed these sentiments, stating: "Based on the results of the survey, the need for a high standard of practice in ethics for massage therapy is paramount."


  1. NCBTMB Consumer Survey. Harris Interactive, October 2001. Complete survey questions/results are available on line at


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