AMTA Survey Confirms: Massage Increasingly Sought for Health and Medical Reasons And Healthcare Providers Referring More Patients

Oct 22, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Massage Therapy Association

    EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- People today look to massage
 therapy for more than pampering.  A consumer survey released today by the
 American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) shows that consumers seek massage
 for health and medical reasons (60 percent) more than for sheer indulgence (6
 percent).  Consumers aren't alone -- healthcare providers are increasingly
 referring their patients to massage therapists.  And, seniors said they got
 their last massage for medical reasons (56 percent).
     "The data collected this year indicates a significant ongoing shift in
 consumers' understanding of massage therapy.  Healthcare providers and
 consumers alike realize that massage has great health benefits and use it for
 many health conditions -- stress relief, relaxation, injury recovery, chronic
 pain," said Steve Olson, president of AMTA.  "I'm glad to see this perception
 emerge, especially among seniors, who tend to have greater health and medical
 needs.  So the percentage of people who get massage probably will continue to
 grow as the 'baby boomer generation' ages."
     The number of American adults who report getting a massage over the last
 12 months continued to steadily increase -- more than twice as many had one or
 more massages from a massage therapist in the past year (17 percent) than did
 in 1997 (8 percent), the first year AMTA began tracking consumer data.  The
 rate at which consumers today are getting massage annually (17 percent) is the
 same rate at which consumers reported getting a massage over a five-year
 peo a massage therapist by their chiropractor
 and 26 percent were referred by their physician.
     AMTA releases this data in conjunction with its National Massage Therapy
 Awareness Week (NMTAW), October 21 - 27.  This year's theme of "Massage -- It
 Really Works," affirms that research supports what consumers and healthcare
 providers are realizing -- massage offers a variety of real health and medical
     Research Proves Massage Really Works
     Recent clinical research shows that massage provides relief for chronic
 low back pain, eases pain and muscle spasms following bypass surgery, and is
 effective for lymphedema, a condition common among mastectomy survivors.
     "This support from the healthcare community further legitimizes what
 massage therapists have known for years -- that massage really works," said
     As more consumers turn to massage therapy for health and wellness, it's no
 surprise that they also have opinions on how to cover the cost.  Some
 insurance plans cover massage, but often cover it only if a doctor prescribes
 it as a treatment and only if the massage is performed in a doctor's office.
 More than half (58 percent) of the consumer survey respondents said they would
 like insurance to cover massage therapy.  Fifty-three percent of these
 respondents said they would be more inclined to seek out massage on a regular
 basis if it were a covered expense.  Thirty-five percent of consumers surveyed
 said they are willing to pay extra for massage to be added to their health
 insurance policy, but 43 percent say they would prefer to have massage
 available under some type of discount plan.
     Another survey finding that implies consumers consider massage to be part
 of their regular health regimen is the feedback given by consumers on where
 they prefer to get a massage.  Seventeen percent who had a massage in the last
 five years got their last massage from a massage therapist at a day spa and 10
 percent in their own homes.  But, 40 percent of adults who say they recognize
 the value of massage said they would prefer to receive massage at their home.
 Twenty-six percent would prefer to get massage in the massage therapist's
 office, while 23 percent would prefer the day spa.
     As more consumers turn to massage therapy for medical reasons and to
 relieve stress, they should know how to find a massage therapist who is
 trained and qualified.  Since only 30 states regulate the profession of
 massage therapy, consumers can ensure they visit a qualified massage therapist
 in their area by using AMTA's Find a Massage Therapist(R) national locator
 service -- through AMTA's Web site at or toll-free at
     In honor of National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, AMTA massage
 therapists across the country will host events and massage demonstrations in
 their communities during the week of October 21.  AMTA spokespeople would be
 happy to participate in interviews about the benefits of massage during this
 important week.  Detailed consumer survey findings and clinical research
 citations are available in the News Room on AMTA's Web site, , or contact Citigate Communications, 312-944-7398, to
 receive a copy of findings via fax.
     AMTA is a professional organization of 47,000 members.  All AMTA
 Professional members have demonstrated a level of skill and knowledge through
 education and/or testing and are required to meet continuing education credits
 to retain membership.  New Professional members must be graduates of training
 programs accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation
 (COMTA); be graduates of AMTA Council of Schools member-schools; be Nationally
 Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork; or have a current AMTA-accepted
 city, state or provincial license.
     AMTA commissioned the annual Consumer Attitudinal Survey through Opinion
 Research Corporation International. It sampled 1000 American adults living in
 private households.  It carries a confidence factor of plus or minus three
     To learn more about NMTAW activities in your community, and/or to schedule
 an interview with a massage therapist, call Citigate Communications,
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SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association