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Massage Today
December, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 12

More Consumers Discovering the Benefits of Massage Therapy

Latest AMTA Survey Provides Food for Thought

By Editorial Staff

In releasing its 9th Annual Consumer Survey, the American Massage Therapy Association uncovered some important new gains in the massage therapy profession:1.

The popularity and use of massage increased; 2. For the first time in the history of the AMTA Consumer Surveys, massage tied with medication as the preferred form of pain relief among respondents; and 3. More men are receiving massage than in years past. The survey was conducted from Aug. 11 -14, 2005, by Opinion Research Corporation International in Princeton, N.J., and included a national probability sample of 1,014 adults (506 men and 508 women) ages 18 and older who live in private households in the United States.

The popularity of massage grew as two million more people received a massage this year over last year, and approximately 47 million people (more than one in five adults surveyed) received a massage in the past 12 months. A healthy 90 percent of those polled believe massage can be beneficial to your health, with 94 percent of 18- to 24-year olds agreeing with that statement. The use of massage among older Americans tripled since 1997, increasing from 4 percent of those 65 and older using massage to 15 percent in 2005. Consumer confidence in massage therapy increased as well, as 73 percent of respondents would recommend massage to someone they know (an 8 point jump from a year ago).

Twenty-eight percent of those who responded, ranked medication and massage as the form of treatment that brought them the greatest pain relief, with nearly 46 percent of those polled having had a massage at some time to relieve pain. Of the 18 to 34 age group, more than half have had a massage for the relief of pain. And 93 percent of those surveyed agree with the statement that massage therapy can be effective in reducing pain. Fifteen percent of respondents said therapy for an injury would motivate more people to have regular massages, while 24 percent said a discount would be greater motivation.

The survey also shows increases in the numbers of healthcare providers promoting the benefits of massage therapy. Sixty percent of those polled said a physician recommended massage therapy to them, while 50 percent were referred by a physical therapist and 38 percent by a chiropractor. Twenty one percent of those surveyed said they discussed massage with their physician or other healthcare provider, up 14 percent from 2002.

More men are discovering the benefits of massage therapy as the total number of men receiving massage within the past year increased 3 percentage points. Seventeen percent of those polled received a massage in the past 12 months, an increase of 14 percent over last year.

"Along with massage therapy's continued popularity for relaxation and stress relief, this year's survey findings show higher numbers of consumers turning to massage therapy for pain relief than we've ever seen before," said Mary Beth Braun, AMTA president. "We continue to see that physicians and pain management experts find massage to be effective in relieving pain. And, consumers are continuing to see the health benefits of including massage therapy in their regular health regimen. This year's survey only reinforces the confidence people have in massage."

Resources

  • American Massage Therapy Association press release, "Massage Therapy Grows in Popularity." October 20, 2005.
  • American Massage Therapy Association 2005 Massage Therapy Consumer Survey Fact Sheet, www.amtamassage.org.
  • "Need Pain Relief? Massage Gets High Marks," October 27, 2005, www.webmd.com.

 

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