AMTA Survey Confirms: Massage Increasingly Sought for Health and Medical Reasons And Healthcare Providers Referring More Patients
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 benefits. 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 Olson. 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 www.amtamassage.org or toll-free at 888-THE-AMTA. 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, www.amtamassage.org , 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 percent. To learn more about NMTAW activities in your community, and/or to schedule an interview with a massage therapist, call Citigate Communications, 312-944-7398. MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X38254719
SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association
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