EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Most adult Americans believe that massage therapy can be beneficial in managing and relieving pain, and a new consumer survey released today by the American Massage Therapy Association(R) (AMTA(R)) reveals that nearly half the people surveyed (49 percent) have acted on that belief and used massage therapy for pain. In fact, 90 percent of consumers believe that massage therapy can be effective in reducing pain. Among those who have received massage for pain, massage therapy followed only medication as the form of pain relief respondents said gave the greatest relief from pain (30 percent of consumers said medication, followed by 21 percent for massage therapy, 19 percent chiropractic and 16 percent physical therapy). Consumers are so convinced about the benefits of massage therapy that 65 percent would recommend it to someone they know. Consumers aren't the only ones who recognize massage therapy can be beneficial to overall health and wellness. Healthcare providers are increasingly discussing the benefits of massage with their patients. In fact, one in five consumers (20 percent) indicated they had discussed massage therapy with their doctor or other healthcare provider, up from 19 percent in 2003 and 14 percent in 2002. Among those who discussed massage therapy with their healthcare provider, 62 percent said massage was strongly recommended or encouraged for them. Physicians were the most likely to recommend massage therapy (61 percent), followed by physical therapists (45 percent) and chiropractors (42 percent). Massage therapy's popularity is especially on the rise in the African-American community. Twenty-six percent of African-Americans have had a massage in the last 12 months compared to 21 percent of the overall population -- a 12 percentage point jump since 2003. And, African-Americans' physicians and healthcare providers are increasingly talking about massage therapy with their patients. In fact, 83 percent of African-Americans indicated that when they discussed massage therapy with their doctor or healthcare provider, massage therapy was strongly recommended or encouraged, compared to 47 percent in 2003. "Massage therapy continues to be popular for relaxation and stress relief, and this year's survey findings demonstrate that consumers and their healthcare providers recognize that massage therapy has many health benefits, including the ability to help manage and relieve pain," said Laurel J. Freeman, president of AMTA. "Clinical research has shown that massage is effective in caring for a broad range of ailments, and can be more effective for chronic back pain than other complementary therapies. It can help alleviate the perception of pain and anxiety in cancer patients, lessen pain in those who have undergone heart bypass surgery, and stimulate the brain to produce endorphins." Massage therapy also can help relieve stress and help reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Research has shown that massage can boost the body's immune system functioning and increase the body's natural "killer cells" activity. The annual consumer survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation International August 5-8, 2004, among a national probability sample of 1,009 adults (507 men and 502 women) ages 18 and older, living in private households in the continental United States. The survey has a confidence level of plus or minus 3 percent. Commissioned by AMTA, this is the eighth annual massage therapy survey of American consumers. AMTA is releasing this data in conjunction with its National Massage Therapy Awareness Week(R) (NMTAW(R)), a week dedicated to educating consumers on how massage effectively helps relieve pain and stress, and benefits overall health and wellness. The theme for NMTAW this year is "Manage Pain with Massage." 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 24. 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" of AMTA's Web site, http://www.amtamassage.org , or contact Citigate Sard Verbinnen at 312/944-7398 to receive a copy of the findings via fax. AMTA provides consumers with information on what to expect during a massage and tips to help them find a qualified massage therapist. Consumers can find this information on AMTA's Web site, http://www.amtamassage.org . AMTA also offers a free service to help consumers find a qualified massage therapist in their area. Simply log on to AMTA's Web site and click on "Find a Massage Therapist," or call toll-free to 888-THE-AMTA [888-843-2682]. AMTA is a professional association of more than 50,000 massage therapists. AMTA Professional members have demonstrated a level of skill and knowledge through education and/or testing and are required to provide proof of continuing education to retain membership.
SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association