Newswise — Results from the 14th annual consumer survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) indicate the use of massage among men has dropped from 18 percent in 2009 to 10 percent in 2010, a drop that is attributed to the lagging economy these past two years. The survey results were announced at the AMTA National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sept. 22 to 25, 2010.

Recent statistics have indicated men have been putting off their health-care appointments this year including visits for regular checkups, screenings and vaccinations. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), about 57 percent of men have visited a physician within the past year, compared with about 74 percent of women. This trend is now impacting massage therapy in men.

Massage use among women only dropped from 26 percent in 2009 to 25 percent in 2010. Because of the lower use of massage by men, the percentage of all adults who had a massage in the previous 12 months dropped from 22 percent in 2009 to 18 percent in 2010.

“We know from our AMTA survey results in the last 14 years that massage therapy usage has been on an overall upward trend, as people are realizing the health benefits of massage to manage pain and keep them active, as well as being an excellent means to relieve stress,” says Kathleen Miller-Read, AMTA president. “We believe that as the economic climate improves, men will return to massage therapy as part of their regular health maintenance plan.”

Americans are reaching to massage for pain relief

There have been a growing number of people in recent years seeking massage as part of health care and an increase in physician referrals to massage therapists. Because of this trend and a steadily rising number of massage therapists working in health-care environments, this year’s AMTA convention includes educational sessions on massage for the relief of pain stemming from a variety of causes, as well as for pregnancy, sports injuries and cancer. The vast majority of Americans, 86 percent, still agree massage can be effective in reducing pain, a number that has held strong from 2009, while 84 percent agree massage can be beneficial for health and wellness. More than half of the men and women surveyed said they have had a massage to relieve pain.

Americans still see the benefits of massage, particularly those who are stressed

About 40 percent of stressed out Americans are getting massages to relieve their stress, which has increased from 32 percent in 2009.

“Stress, among other factors, is a popular reason why people get massage,” says Miller-Read. “In a year where the economy is such a stress inducer, AMTA is pleased that people are increasingly turning to massage for stress relief.”

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 or (888) 843-2682.