Massage Professionals

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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 2017 - July 2018 between 19-28% of Americans had at least one massage and an average of 31% have received a massage in the previous five years.1
  • In 2018, 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 2018, approximately 33% 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 $18 billion industry in the U.S. in 2018.1
  • Most massage therapists work in more than one setting. Of all massage therapists, 59% work at a client's home/business/corporate setting, 42% at their office, 29% in their home, 23% in a healthcare setting, 23% in a spa setting.1
  • When it comes to locations where clients received a professional massage the some of the more frequent locations include the massage therapist's office or another location (38%), a spa (33%), a hotel, resort, or on a cruise (19%), a massage therapy franchise/chain (19%), and a whopping 16% went to a chiropractors office.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

Why Do People Get a Massage?

Why do people get a massage?
  • 62% of those surveyed claim the primary reason for receiving their last massage in the past 12 months was health or medical reasons such as pain management, injury rehab, or overall wellness.1
  • 66% percent of massage consumers had a massage for relaxation/stress reduction between July 2017 and July 2018.1
  • In July 2018, roughly fifty million American adults had discussed massage therapy with their doctors or healthcare providers in the previous year.1
  • Of consumers that discussed massage therapy with their healthcare provider, chiropractors lead the charge in recommending massage therapy to their patients (51%), followed by physicans (46%) an dphysical therapists (46%).1

Who Are Massage Therapists?

Who are massage therapists?
  • Approximately 88% of massage therapists are female.1
  • On average, massage therapists are 44 years old. 22% were younger than 35 in 2018.1
  • Most massage therapists are sole practitioners.1
  • The majority of massage therapists work an average of 26.6 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


  • 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 647 hours of initial training.1
  • More than 95% of massage therapists have taken continuing education courses. Most have taken an average of 21 hours each year.1
  • On average, there are 325 to 398 thousand massage therapists in massage schools in the United States.1


1 "Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet." American Massage Therapy Association. 13 Aug 2019.

2 "Occupational Outlook Handbook." Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. 2018 Jun 01.

3 "Consumer Views & Use of Massage Therapy." American Massage Therapy Association. 2018 Oct.