AMTA Annual Consumer Survey Results Reveal Health Benefits of Massage

Usage supports health focus for consumers

EVANSTON, Ill., Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Recent results from the 15th annual consumer survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) show consumers have a growing awareness of the health benefits of massage. In fact, 90 percent of individuals perceive massage as effective in reducing pain and an increasing number of people consult doctors and health professionals about massage therapy.

“These survey results indicate that more and more people are finding relief for their pain and other health problems with regular massage,” says Glenath Moyle, AMTA president. “We’re happy that people recognize the health benefits of massage and are integrating it into their regular health maintenance routines.”

Growing number of Americans use massage for health

According to the AMTA survey, 86 percent of individuals view massage as beneficial to overall health and wellness. Consumers are actively interpreting massage therapy as more than just a pampering technique as they reveal understandings of associated health benefits. In fact, the amount of consumers who use massage therapy for pain relief has increased from 25 percent in 2010 to 31 percent in 2011, among survey respondents who had a massage in the last year. This current figure is more than triple the number of consumers who use acupuncture for pain relief. Additionally, a recent Consumer Reports survey indicated that deep-tissue massage, along with yoga and Pilates, all rated about the same as prescription medication for the relief of back pain.

Doctors and health professionals continue to influence consumers’ decision to use massage therapy for increased health and wellness. Of those who spoke with a health care provider about massage, 12 percent were referred to a massage therapist. Another 21 percent of doctors strongly recommended massage, while 24 percent encouraged it and 17 percent said a massage may be beneficial. According to a recent survey conducted by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Samueli Institute, 42 percent of hospitals surveyed offer some form of a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) service and massage therapy is in the top two services provided at those hospitals. In fact, among the responding hospitals that use CAM, 64 percent offer massage for outpatient treatment and 44 percent provide massage for inpatient treatment.

Relaxation and pain-relief use

Of those who had a massage in 2011, 30 percent sought their last massage for relaxation and stress reduction, down from 42 percent of those surveyed last year. At the same time, 20 percent received a massage to reduce and manage pain, up from 15 percent last year.

“We think this an important finding,” says Moyle. “It may be that people now view the stress relief they receive through massage as part of their general health and characterize it this way, rather than relaxation.”

About AMTA

The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) is a professional association of more than 56,000 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 health care professionals locate qualified massage therapists nationwide, through AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist free national locator service available at www.findamassagetherapist.org or at (888) 843-2682.

For more information, visit www.amtamassage.org.