Massage Therapy Use Holds Steady, Despite Lagging Economy

Americans report more stress than last year, turning to massage for relief

Sep 24, 2008, 01:00 ET from American Massage Therapy Association

    EVANSTON, Ill., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- As stress rates increase, more
 people are turning to massage therapy for relaxation, according to the 12th
 annual consumer survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy
 Association(R) (AMTA(R)). The survey found that 59 percent of Americans are
 more stressed this year than last year, and stress and relaxation are the
 top reasons Americans received their last massage. These survey results are
 announced in advance of National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, October
     "People continue to seek massage because it provides multiple
 therapeutic benefits, including stress relief, at an affordable price,"
 says M.K. Brennan, RN, AMTA president. "Massage therapy has not only been
 shown to reduce anxiety and depression, but it can also relieve stress
 symptoms like chronic migraines and high blood pressure."
     Thirty-six percent of Americans received massage for stress reduction
 and relaxation in the last five years, compared with just 22 percent last
 year. Additionally, 38 percent of Americans say they have considered
 regular massage to manage stress.
     The state of the economy has been a major stress trigger for Americans
 this past year. Forty-five percent of Americans say they are greatly
 stressed by the current economic situation, or other factors. Younger
 Americans and women have felt particularly affected by the economy.
 Fifty-five percent of those ages 25-34 say they are greatly stressed by the
 economic situation, and 51 percent of females agree.
     Finding a professional massage therapist is vital to a person's massage
 experience. AMTA offers a professional massage therapist locator service
 ( and encourages consumers to look for
 an AMTA massage therapist.
     Age and income impact massage therapy perceptions and usage
     Young Americans and those in lower income groups are the most likely to
 consider massage for stress. Fifty percent of 18-24 year olds and forty-six
 percent of those making less than $25,000 a year say they would considered
 massage to manage stress.
     While lower income and young Americans are more likely to seek massage
 for stress, people with higher incomes are more likely to discuss massage
 therapy with their doctors. This year, 16 percent of those making $50,000 a
 year or more, discussed massage with their physicians, which is nearly
 twice as many as those making between $25,000 and $35,000. And more than
 half (57 percent) of those who talked to their doctor about massage
 reported that their doctor strongly recommended or encouraged them to get a
     "As perceptions regarding the multiple benefits of massage evolve, it's
 interesting to note that some of its most prevalent evangelists are
 doctors," said Brennan. "This trend will continue as more doctors refer
 patients to massage therapists and see how it can help their patients
 recover from injuries, alleviate pain and ease stress."
     Despite recommendations from doctors, massage therapy is not always
 covered in health insurance plans. Sixty percent of Americans reported that
 they would like to see massage covered by their insurance plans.
     About AMTA
     The American Massage Therapy Association(R) (AMTA(R)) is a professional
 association of more than 58,000 members. AMTA professional members have
 demonstrated a level of skill and knowledge through education and/or
 testing and must meet continuing education requirements to retain
 membership. AMTA provides information about massage therapy to the public
 and works to improve the professional climate for massage therapists. The
 association also helps consumers and healthcare professionals locate
 qualified massage therapists nationwide, through AMTA's Find a Massage
 Therapist(R) free national locator service available at or toll-free at 888-843-2682
Media Contact: Ron Precht 847-905-1649

SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association