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Massage Therapy Use Holds Steady, Despite Lagging Economy

Americans report more stress than last year, turning to massage for relief

EVANSTON, Ill., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- As stress rates increase, more people are turning to massage therapy for relaxation, according to the 12th annual consumer survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association(R) (AMTA(R)). The survey found that 59 percent of Americans are more stressed this year than last year, and stress and relaxation are the top reasons Americans received their last massage. These survey results are announced in advance of National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, October 19-25.

"People continue to seek massage because it provides multiple therapeutic benefits, including stress relief, at an affordable price," says M.K. Brennan, RN, AMTA president. "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."

Thirty-six percent of Americans received massage for stress reduction and relaxation in the last five years, compared with just 22 percent last year. Additionally, 38 percent of Americans say they have considered regular massage to manage stress.

The state of the economy has been a major stress trigger for Americans this past year. 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.

Finding a professional massage therapist is vital to a person's massage experience. AMTA offers a professional massage therapist locator service ( and encourages consumers to look for an AMTA massage therapist.

Age and income impact massage therapy perceptions and usage

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. And 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."

Despite recommendations from doctors, massage therapy is not always covered in health insurance plans. Sixty percent of Americans reported that they would like to see massage covered by their insurance plans.

About AMTA

The American Massage Therapy Association(R) (AMTA(R)) is a professional association of more than 58,000 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 healthcare professionals locate qualified massage therapists nationwide, through AMTA's Find a Massage Therapist(R) free national locator service available at or toll-free at 888-843-2682 [888-THE-AMTA].

Media Contact:

Ron Precht


SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association
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