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 www.amtamassage.org 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,
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
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