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
"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
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
-- The massage therapist will want background information about your
physical condition, medical history, lifestyle, stress levels and any
-- 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
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
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SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association