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From the Institute for Integrative Healthcare

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About Massage

Who Gets a Massage?

Who gets a massage?
  • Between July 2016 - July 2017 19% of Americans had at least one massage and an average of 33% have received a massage in the previous five years.1
  • In 2017, 21% of women and 16% of men reported getting a massage in the past 12 months.1

Where Do People Get a Massage? Where Do Massage Therapists Work?

Where do people get a massage?
  • In 2017, approximately 23% of persons surveyed who have gotten a massage reported they received it in a spa setting.1
  • It is estimated that massage therapy was a $16 billion industry in the U.S. in 2017.1
  • Most massage therapists work in more than one setting. Of all massage therapists, 9% work at least part-time at a client's home/business/corproate setting, 42% at their office, 29% in their home, 23% in a healthcare setting, 23% in a spa setting.1
  • Approximately 39% of massage therapists were self-employed in 2016. The majority of the remaining massage therapists worked in personal care services (29%), offices of other health practitioners (12%), offices of chiropractors (7%), traveler accommodation, including hotels (6%).2
  • Many massage therapists work part-time, about half of massage therapists in 2016.2

Why Do People Get a Massage?

Why do people get a massage?
  • 67% of those surveyed claim the primary reason for receiving their last massage in the past 12 months was medical (41 percent) or stress (26 percent) related.3
  • Forty-three percent of adult Americans who had a massage between July 2016 and July 2017 received it for medical or health reasons such as pain management, soreness/stiffness/spasms, injury rehabilitation, or overall wellness.1
  • Twenty-nine percent of massage consumers had a massage for relaxation/stress reduction between July 2016 and July 2017.1
  • In July 2017, roughly fifty million American adults (18 percent) had discussed massage therapy with their doctors or healthcare providers in the previous year.1
  • 85 percent of consumers have used massage for medical reasons.1

Who Are Massage Therapists?

Who are massage therapists?
  • Approximately 89% of massage therapists are female.1
  • On average, massage therapists are 46 years old. 22% were younger than 35 in 2017.1
  • Most massage therapists are sole practitioners.1
  • The majority of massage therapists work an average of 19.5 hours per week, specifically doing massage or another form of bodywork (this does not include related paperwork, scheduling, marketing or office maintenance).1
  • 80% of massage therapists also work in another profession, and massage is a second career.1

Education

Education
  • A massage therapist in the United States will graduate from a private or public postsecondary school with at least 500 hours of study completed in areas that include anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, business management, ethics and hands-on practice of massage techniques.2
  • Though requirements vary from state to state, on average, a massage therapist has approximately 665 hours of initial training.1
  • More than 92% of massage therapists have taken continuing education courses. Most have taken an average of 21 hours each year.1
  • On average, there are 335 to 385 thousand massage therapists in massage schools in the United States.1

Resources:

1 "Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet." American Massage Therapy Association. 12 Apr 2018. https://www.amtamassage.org/infocenter/economic_industry-fact-sheet.html

2 "Occupational Outlook Handbook." Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. 2018 Jun 01. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm.

3 "Consumer Views & Use of Massage Therapy." American Massage Therapy Association. 2018 Oct. https://www.amtamassage.org/research/Consumer-Survey-Fact-Sheets.html.