Clients turn to massage therapy for relief from stress and to boost relaxation than for any other reasons, according to results of a new national survey released Sept. 24.

And despite the challenging economy, clients are making massage priority.
These are among the results of the 12th annual consumer survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

“People continue to seek massage because it provides multiple therapeutic benefits, including stress relief, at an affordable price,” said AMTA President M.K. Brennan, R.N., in an association press release. “Massage therapy has not only been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, but it can also relieve stress symptoms like chronic migraines and high blood pressure.”
The survey also found:

• Thirty-six percent of Americans received massage for stress reduction and relaxation in the last five years, compared with just 22 percent last year.

• Thirty-eight percent of Americans say they have considered regular massage to manage stress.

• Forty-five percent of Americans say they are greatly stressed by the current economic situation, or other factors. Younger Americans and women have felt particularly affected by the economy. Fifty-five percent of those ages 25-34 say they are greatly stressed by the economic situation, and 51 percent of females agree.

• Young Americans and those in lower income groups are the most likely to consider massage for stress. Fifty percent of 18-24 year olds and forty-six percent of those making less than $25,000 a year say they would considered massage to manage stress.

• While lower income and young Americans are more likely to seek massage for stress, people with higher incomes are more likely to discuss massage therapy with their doctors. This year, 16 percent of those making $50,000 a year or more discussed massage with their physicians, which is nearly twice as many as those making between $25,000 and $35,000.

• More than half (57 percent) of those who talked to their doctor about massage reported that their doctor strongly recommended or encouraged them to get a massage.

“As perceptions regarding the multiple benefits of massage evolve, it’s interesting to note that some of its most prevalent evangelists are doctors,” said Brennan. “This trend will continue as more doctors refer patients to massage therapists and see how it can help their patients recover from injuries, alleviate pain and ease stress.”

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