Massage professionals know that stress is one of the top motivators for clients seeking massage therapy. New research sponsored by the nation’s largest professional massage association shows that people nationwide are feeling stressed and are using a variety of strategies to cope.

The research released today said 81 percent of American adults feel as stressed (45 percent) or more stressed (36 percent) now than they did a year ago. The research was conducted by Boulder, Colo.-based Harstad Strategic Research and sponsored by Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP).

Despite the sour economy, the overall use of massage therapy remains consistent: 14 percent of adult Americans had a professional massage in 2008 compared to 12 percent in 2004 and 16 percent in 2006. Those who did not receive a massage in 2008 were more likely to cite their pocketbooks as the reason than has been the case in previous surveys.

Among those who had a professional massage in 2008, 58 percent said they did so for “relaxation, restoration or stress relief,” and 85 percent of 2008 massage users were satisfied with the experience, predicting they would seek massage again in 2009.

To read the full press release, click here.