More Americans Turning to Massage for Pain Management

Massage Therapy Grows as Overall Wellness Tool, Especially Among Baby


Oct 17, 2007, 01:00 ET from American Massage Therapy Association

    EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- More people get massage therapy
 for medical purposes than for relaxation, according to a survey conducted
 by the American Massage Therapy Association(R) (AMTA(R)). The survey also
 showed that baby boomers have more massages than their younger counterparts
 -- and are more likely to use massage for medical reasons.
     Thirty percent of all people who received a massage in the last five
 years got it for medical reasons, compared to 22 percent who sought
 relaxation and 13 percent for a simple indulgence. Almost one-third (32
 percent) of Americans say they've used massage therapy at least one time
 for pain relief -- just behind those who have turned to chiropractic (38
 percent) and physical therapy (44 percent).
     "It's no surprise that people are turning to massage therapy to improve
 their wellness," says Dr. Leena S. Guptha, president of the AMTA. "It's a
 proven way to manage pain, recover from injury, and improve one's quality
 of life, often reducing the need for medications or invasive treatments."
     Survey respondents said they most frequently sought massage therapy for
 medical reasons including pain management, injury recovery, soreness,
 general wellness and control of headaches or migraines. These benefits of
 massage are also being revealed by a growing body of medical literature. A
 scholarly review of scientific studies published in the July 2007 issue of
 Evidence Based Complementary Medicine has shown that professional massage
 therapy can be more effective than some other therapies in managing certain
 types of pain, particularly lower back pain, shoulder complaints and
     "With the prevalence of massage for health conditions, it is important
 that consumers find a professional massage therapist," says Dr. Guptha.
     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.
     Boomers See Wellness Benefits of Massage
     Respondents aged 45 to 64 have had an average of almost 7 massages
 during the past 12 months, while those aged 18 to 44 have had an average of
 five. Among those who have had a massage in the past five years, boomers
 have had an average of just under 20 massages compared to an average of
 about 10 for those aged 18 to 44.
     The tendency to seek massage for health conditions was stronger among
 people from the immediate postwar generation as well. Thirty-eight percent
 of those aged 45 to 64 said the massages they've received were for medical
 reasons, while 25 percent of people 18 to 44 cited that reason for massage.
 In addition, 23 percent of those 45 to 64 have discussed massage therapy
 with their doctors or healthcare providers, compared to 18 percent of those
 18 to 24.
     Doctors and Public View Massage Therapy Positively
     The AMTA-sponsored survey showed that 87 percent of people agree
 massage can be effective in reducing pain, and 85 percent agree massage can
 be beneficial to health and wellness. Fewer than half (39 percent) believe
 massage is "just for pampering." And 59 percent said they would like to see
 massage therapy covered by their health insurance plans.
     Nearly one in five people said they had discussed massage therapy with
 their doctors or healthcare providers, and among those who had, more than
 half (58 percent) said their doctors had either "strongly recommended" or
 "encouraged" the use of massage.
     "Healthcare providers and consumers are finding out what professional
 massage therapists have always understood -- that massage is not only
 relaxing, but also an important tool for pain management and overall
 wellness," Dr. Guptha said.
     About AMTA
     The American Massage Therapy Association(R) (AMTA(R)) is a professional
 association of more than 57,000 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:
     Karla Karapetian

SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association