Why Massage Is In Americans' Futures

Annual survey reveals use of massage therapy

Oct 24, 2006, 01:00 ET from American Massage Therapy Association

    EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- More than one out of every 6
 Americans gets a massage each year, that's 25 million more Americans than
 10 years ago, according to an annual survey commissioned by the American
 Massage Therapy Association(R) (AMTA(R)). In the past, relaxation was the
 leading motivator for massage, but increasingly Americans are looking to
 massage therapy for medical reasons (30 percent) such as injury recovery,
 pain reduction, headache control, and overall health and wellness.
     "About one third of Americans still think massage is a luxury, but our
 latest survey shows that 40 percent have had a massage to relieve pain,"
 says Mary Beth Braun, president of the AMTA. "And while we have seen a
 strong interest in massage therapy for health reasons from all age groups,
 there's been a real increase in understanding of the value of massage among
 Generation Y. It looks like their interest will grow stronger as this group
     In fact, 72 percent of Generation Y respondents disagree that massage
 is just a luxury; ninety-two percent say they believe massage can be an
 effective way to relieve pain, while 48 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds have
 already had a massage to relieve pain.
     "Younger people are telling us that massage can be a valuable part of
 their personal health routine," says Braun. "As they come to rely more and
 more on massage for therapeutic reasons, as well as for stress relief,
 they'll need to know how best to find professional massage therapists who
 can be relied upon to provide the best possible service."
     Finding a professional massage therapist who is well-trained and
 knowledgeable can make or break 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. The organization also recommends asking massage
 therapists specific questions, including if they are licensed to practice
 massage, if they are Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and
 Bodywork and where they received massage therapy training.
     Why people get massages
     According to AMTA's annual survey, more than 39 million Americans
 received a massage in the last year, and almost one out of three people (30
 percent) who had a massage in the past 5 years received massages for
 "medical/health reasons" other than stress relief. More than half (53
 percent) who discussed massage with their healthcare providers say their
 doctor recommended they get massage therapy.
     -- Men and respondents 65 and older are especially likely to get massages
        for medical/healthcare reasons.
     -- Women indicated massage therapy was their first choice when asked "what
        gave you the greatest relief from pain?" (24 percent versus 22 percent
        who chose medications as their number one pain-relief choice).
     -- Men placed medications first (24 percent) and massage second
        (19 percent).
     -- Almost one out of three (32 percent) of Hispanic respondents chose
        massage therapy as their preferred choice of pain relief, and more than
        half (57 percent) of Hispanics have had a massage to relieve pain.
     -- The number of people who indicated having their massage paid by an
        insurance company or a co-pay doubled from 5 percent last year to
        10 percent this year.
     "Relaxation/stress reduction" (26 percent) and "because it was free or
 a gift" (21 percent) are also common reasons for having massage as shown in
 ten years of consumer surveys.
     "Massage is a hot topic," says Braun of the AMTA. "As the medical
 community increasingly recognizes its benefits, and as more insurance
 companies begin to include it in their plans, massage will become a more
 common component of people's health and wellness practice."
     Types of massage
     While finding the right massage therapist is critical, consumers also
 need to understand how massage can help them by understanding what types of
 massage are best-suited to their individual needs. "The more people know
 about massage," notes Braun, "the better they'll be able to take advantage
 of its benefits."
     There are many types of massage and AMTA recommends that people discuss
 with their massage therapists their physical condition and what they hope
 to achieve from their massage. The four most common types of massage are:
     Swedish massage: a gentle, relaxing massage using a system of long
      strokes, kneading and friction techniques.
     Deep tissue massage: beneficial for muscle damage from an injury, such as
      whiplash or back strain.
     Sports massage: helps prevent athletic injury, keeps the body flexible and
      may aid in healing the body in the event of an injury.
     Chair massage: massage of the upper body, while fully clothed and seated
      in a special portable chair and is meant to relax and improve
     About AMTA
     The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) is a professional
 association of more than 55,000 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
     For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:
     Matt Flesch               Ron Precht
     Edelman                   American Massage Therapy Association
     (312) 233-1216            (847) 905-1649
     matt.flesch@edelman.com   rprecht@amtamassage.org

SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association