EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Who's "taking time for massage?" A broad spectrum of the American population -- that's who -- according to the American Massage Therapy Association's (AMTA) latest consumer data. The survey, conducted in late July by Opinion Research Corporation International, reveals that the "face" of today's massage consumer is broadening to include a cross-section of the population and all income groups. "Data collected this year indicates that many people who may have previously considered massage an out-of-reach 'luxury' item are changing their habits," said Steve Olson, president of AMTA. "I'm glad this perception is changing. The proven medical benefits of massage aren't limited or restricted to particular populations -- it's beneficial for everyone." The number of American adults who report getting a massage in the past 12 months has steadily increased in recent years -- twice as many had one or more massages from a massage therapist in the past year (16 percent) as did in 1997 (when AMTA began tracking consumer data). Massage consumers, whether they are White, Black, Hispanic, young, middle-aged, or senior citizens, are getting massage more than they did just a few years ago. While people earning at least $50,000 annually still lead the pack of those who got a massage in the past twelve months (23 percent), people who earn under $15,000 annually tied with those earning between $35,000 - $50,000 annually (15 percent) as the income groups with the next highest percentage. AMTA releases this latest data in conjunction with its National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, October 22 - 28. This year's theme, "Take Time for Massage," serves as a reminder that massage helps relieve the pressures of everyday life and has proven medical uses. Results from this year's consumer survey indicate that people who are "taking time for massage" are more diverse than in years past. Although the number of people receiving massages is on the rise, Americans say there are reasons why they don't get a regular massage. Approximately 20 percent of Americans surveyed this year said they understand that massage has proven medical benefits, they simply don't have time to make regular appointments. "Juggling work, play, family, and life in general can take a physical and emotional toll on the body. People who say they are too busy to get a massage are probably the ones who need it most," said Olson. "Feedback gleaned from the survey reinforces perfectly why AMTA chose "Take Time for Massage" as this year's National Massage Therapy Awareness Week theme." Nearly one third of adults surveyed (29 percent) say that medical reasons would motivate them to get a massage. [Some medical reasons include: muscle soreness/stiffness/spasm (10 percent); to reduce pain (6 percent); for injury recovery and rehab (4 percent); for wellness and prevention (2 percent); greater joint flexibility or range of motion (2 percent); or because of a prescription or physician recommendation (2 percent).] Of people who receive massage, 42 percent perceive massage as therapeutic, 23 percent say it feels good, 27 percent believe massage is both therapeutic and feels good. Another finding of interest is that more and more physicians are responding positively to questions from their patients about massage. According to the survey, 71 percent of doctors whose patients asked them about massage responded positively to their questions. Among Americans ages 65 and older who spoke with their doctors about massage therapy, 84 percent report favorable conversations. "It is encouraging that when people talk to their doctors about the benefits of massage, they are usually getting positive responses," said Olson. "I expect that in the future, more physicians will recommend massage for their patients." To celebrate National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, AMTA massage therapists across the country will host events and massage demonstrations in their communities. AMTA spokespeople are happy to participate in interviews about the benefits of massage in conjunction with this special week. Detailed survey findings are available on AMTA's Web site, www.amtamassage.org , or contact MSI Strategic Communications, 312/944-7398, to receive a copy of findings via fax. TV reporters: AMTA massage therapists can demonstrate various massage techniques in-studio -- on news personalities or on members of a studio audience. B-roll also is available to complement stories; please visit AMTA's Web site ( www.amtamassage.org ) to preview available b-roll. To obtain copies, please contact MSI Strategic Communications, 312-944-7398. AMTA's Find a Massage Therapist(SM) national locator service -- toll-free at 888-THE-AMTA or through AMTA's Web site at www.amtamassage.org -- helps consumers and health care professionals locate qualified AMTA massage therapists in their area. AMTA is a professional organization of 43,000 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's Consumer Attitudinal Survey sampled 1006 American adults living in private households. It carries a confidence factor of plus or minus three percent.
SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association