Seniors' Use of Massage Nearly Triples in 5-Year Period

    EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Seniors today no longer consider
 massage therapy "alternative" health care.  According to the American Massage
 Therapy Association's(R) (AMTA(R)) annual survey released today, the
 percentage of seniors (ages 65 and older) who received a massage from a
 massage therapist in the past five years has almost tripled (21 percent
 compared to 8 percent in 1997).  Why do seniors get massage?  For health
 reasons, according to the survey.  In fact, seniors indicated they seek
 massage for health reasons (other than stress relief and relaxation) more than
 any other age group (41 percent).
     Seniors aren't the only ones recognizing that massage may be good for
 their health.  AMTA's survey indicates that physicians often recommend massage
 therapy to seniors for health reasons (19 percent).  Baby boomers (ages 45 -
 64) are the age group most recommended by physicians to massage therapy (33
 percent).
     "Survey results this year indicate a significant shift in seniors'
 understanding of massage therapy," said AMTA President Brenda L. Griffith.
 "This realization is incredibly important, considering seniors often have the
 greatest health needs.  It's even more encouraging that their physicians are
 affirming the health benefits of massage and are recommending massage therapy
 to their patients."
     AMTA's survey also revealed that overall consumer usage of massage therapy
 continues to climb.  The number of consumers seeking massage has risen
 steadily every year since 1997, when AMTA began collecting consumer data.  The
 data confirms that consumers are using massage to help relieve stress and as
 an overall complement to their health care.  Of the 28 percent of adult
 Americans who had a massage in the last five years, nearly one-fourth (23
 percent) sought massage for relaxation or stress reduction, while more than
 half (53 percent) received their last massage for other health reasons.  When
 asked what would motivate them to get a massage, more than one third of all
 people surveyed (35 percent) said it would be to reduce stress or for
 relaxation.
     AMTA releases this data in conjunction with its National Massage Therapy
 Awareness Week(TM), October 20-26.  This year's theme "Massage Relieves
 Stress," affirms what research supports and what consumers and health care
 providers are realizing -- in addition to its other health benefits, massage
 is a proven stress reliever.
     In addition to stress relief, massage has been shown to aid in injury
 recovery, boost immune function, speed recover from some illnesses and
 surgery, lower blood pressure and ease symptoms of arthritis.
     While massage has many health benefits, there are some conditions when the
 use of massage therapy is not appropriate.  Seniors who suffer from any of the
 following conditions should discuss whether or not massage is right for them
 with their massage therapist or physician:
 
     -- Inflammation of the veins (phlebitis)  -- Some skin conditions
     -- Infectious diseases                    -- Cardiac problems
     -- Cancer                                 -- Diabetes
 
     Because massage therapy has become a popular form of health care among
 seniors, it is important for them to know what to expect when visiting a
 massage therapist for the first time:
 
     -- The massage therapist will ask questions about what prompted you to get
        a massage.
     -- The massage therapist will want background information about your
        physical condition, medical history, lifestyle, stress levels and any
        painful areas.
     -- The massage therapist will ask about your health goals and will discuss
        how massage may help you achieve those goals.
 
     Only 30 states regulate the profession of massage therapy.  AMTA wants to
 provide seniors with tips to help them find a massage therapist who is trained
 and qualified.  Seniors should ask the following questions before getting a
 massage, to verify the credentials of their massage therapist:
 
     -- Are you licensed to practice massage?
     -- Are you a member of AMTA?
     -- Where did you receive your massage therapy training?
     -- Are you Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork?
 
     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 20.  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" on AMTA's Web site,
 www.amtamassage.org, or contact Citigate Communications, 312-944-7398, to
 receive a copy of the findings by fax.
     Finding a qualified massage therapist is easy.  Simply log on to AMTA's
 Web site at www.amtamassage.org and click on Find a Massage Therapist, or call
 toll-free, 888-843-2682.
     AMTA is a professional association of more than 46,000 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.
     AMTA commissioned the annual Consumer Attitudinal Survey through Opinion
 Research Corporation International. It sampled 1000 American adults living in
 private households. It carries a confidence factor of plus or minus three
 percent.
 
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SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association

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