More Americans Turning to Massage for Pain Management
Massage Therapy Grows as Overall Wellness Tool, Especially Among Baby
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 headaches. "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 (http://www.findamassagetherapist.org) 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 http://www.findamassagetherapist.org or toll-free at 888-843-2682 [888-THE-AMTA]. Media Contact: Karla Karapetian 847-905-1633
SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association
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