Primary reason individuals receive massage therapy is for medical reasons

Evanston, IL – Oct. 22, 2012 – Recent results from the 16th annual consumer survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) reveal more consumers are incorporating massage therapy into their regular health and wellness regimens to assist with medical conditions. In fact, 75 percent of individuals claim the primary reason for receiving a massage in the past 12 months was medical (43 percent) and stress (32 percent) related. Medical reasons include pain relief, soreness, stiffness or spasms, injury recovery, migraines, prevention, and general well-being.

“The findings from this year’s survey display a growing sense of awareness among consumers about massage being an effective tool for a variety of health conditions,” says Cynthia Ribeiro, AMTA president. “Physicians are recommending massage therapy to their patients for stress-related tension, pain relief and injuries, as well as to help maintain overall health and wellness.”

The survey results, released in conjunction with National Massage Therapy Awareness Week (NMTAW), Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, indicate that 87 percent of individuals view massage as being beneficial to overall health and wellness.

Given the distinct consumer understanding of the health benefits of massage, an increasing number of people are consulting their physicians about massage therapy, with 50 percent stating that their doctor has either strongly recommended or encouraged them to get a massage. This suggests consumers and health care professionals regard massage as a viable option to address health concerns.

“A growing body of evidence shows that massage therapy can be effective for a variety of health conditions and massage is rapidly becoming recognized as an important part of health and wellness,” said Dr. Keri Peterson, board certified internal medicine physician. “Many of my patients come to me with chronic pain including back and knee pain, as well as migraines and injuries after exercise. I am now referring more people than ever to meet with massage therapists as an alternative, before considering surgery or prescribing prescriptions.”

Supported research shows that massage therapy can improve quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia, reduce inflammation of skeletal muscle acutely damaged with exercise and help relieve chronic lower back pain. In addition, research supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) shows that a 60-minute Swedish massage once a week for those with osteoarthritis of the knee significantly reduced their pain.

According to the AMTA survey, consumers recognize the role massage therapy has in pain management, with 89 percent of respondents viewing massage to be effective in reducing pain. In general, almost 30 percent have used massage therapy at some time for pain relief.

During National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, AMTA massage therapists across the country will promote the benefits of massage for health and wellness through massage demonstrations, education events, special client promotions, social media posts and other awareness activities. Consumers are encouraged to visit AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist free national locator service, available at This locator allows people to find professional members of AMTA, who meet both association qualifications and state/local requirements to practice.

Summary of survey data:

  • 75 percent claim their primary reason for receiving a massage in the past 12 months was medical (43 percent) and stress (32 percent)
  • 50 percent who have ever had a massage received it for medical reasons including soreness, stiffness or spasms; to relieve or manage stress; for prevention or to improve quality of life; injury recovery; to keep fit or healthy, wellness; and to control headaches or migraines
  • 50 percent said their doctor has either strongly recommended or encouraged them to get a massage
  • 89 percent believe massage can be effective in reducing pain
  • 87 percent recognize massage can be beneficial to health and wellness
  • 44 percent say medical benefits would motivate them to have a massage

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.