AMTA Releases Annual Research on Massage Therapy Profession

By 2011-2-17

AMTA Releases Annual Research on Massage Therapy Profession


PRESS RELEASE - The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) fourth annual summary research on the state of the massage therapy profession indicates both the impact of the poor economy on massage in the past two years and how massage therapists have adjusted their practices. A detailed report focused on the meaning of the research for massage therapy schools was released and discussed today at the AMTA 2011 Massage Schools Summit in San Francisco.

Based on three surveys conducted for AMTA in recent months, and data from government agencies, the research shows the economy is the prime mover of massage therapy. Indications are that the public embraces the benefits of massage and will increase their usage as the economy recovers.

The percentage of adult American consumers who received a massage between July 2009 and July 2010 went down by four percentage points, from 22 percent to 18 percent, compared to the previous year. Consumers continue to strongly believe in the efficacy of massage with over 80 percent of them seeing massage as effective in reducing pain and as beneficial to their health and wellness. Twenty-six percent of American adults expected to get a massage in the next twelve months.

"We are delighted to provide our members, the profession and the public with ongoing research about the state of massage therapy in the U.S.," says AMTA President Kathleen Miller-Read. "We now have several years of information that help us all see what is happening in consumer use of massage, how massage therapists practice and how massage schools are functioning. This information is invaluable to all of us, to help us know how to maintain our practices and how our massage schools can change to reflect the evolving needs of our profession."

During 2010, massage therapists worked an average of 19.4 massage hours per week, down slightly from 20.4 hours per week in 2009. Including tips, the average therapist earned $41 per hour in 2010 vs. $44.90 in 2009.

Although the last decade saw the number of practicing massage therapists increase by close to 60 percent, this growth slowed in 2010 (1 percent increase over 2009). Most massage therapists are female (87 percent), on average are 43 years old, had a different profession prior to becoming a therapist (74 percent) and are sole practitioners (65 percent). Massage therapists reported a continuing trend to work in multiple settings (an average of two settings) and practice several massage modalities (an average of eight).

The trend continued again in 2010 of a growth in health care jobs in the U.S. This also affected massage therapists as 25 percent of them reported working in a health care environment in 2010, compared to 10 percent of massage therapists working in these environments in 2005.

In 2010, the average amount of reported initial massage therapy training was 660 hours, an increase of 36 hours over 2009. Ninety-seven percent of massage therapists took continuing education classes in 2010.

Read AMTA's 2011 Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet at

Source: American Massage Therapy Association

The American Massage Therapy Association is the largest non-profit, professional association serving massage therapists, massage students and massage schools. The association is directed by volunteer leadership and fosters ongoing, direct member-involvement through its 51 chapters. AMTA works to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and public education on the benefits of massage.