Fewer consumers received massage in 2012 than in 2011, according to a report by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) released at its annual AMTA Massage Schools Summit held in Chicago, Illinois, last week.

According to the report:

• The percentage of adult American consumers who received a massage declined to 16 percent in 2012 from 18 percent in 2011

• The average number of massages received went from 4.5 in 2011 to 4.2 in 2012

• Approximately 34.5 million people had a total of 145 million massages in 2012, a 15 percent decline from the 170.5 million massages received in the U.S. by 37.9 million people in 2011.

A detailed report focused on the meaning of the research for massage therapy schools and their students at the summit.

The report was based on four surveys conducted for AMTA in recent months, along with data from government agencies. The research also shows that consumers accept the value of massage therapy as part of health and well-being.

“Our profession and how massage therapy is accepted by consumers and those in health care keeps changing and evolving,” said AMTA President Cynthia Ribeiro. If we massage therapists don’t know what is happening in the marketplace, we may be at a real disadvantage in knowing where we can practice successfully.”