Why People get Massage

Why People get Massage

One in six American adults had a massage in the past year--25 million more Americans than 10 years ago, according to an annual survey commissioned by AMTA.  When these surveys began in 1997, only 8 percent of adults said they had a massage in the past year.  In 2006, 18 percent said they had a massage in the past year.

In the past, relaxation was the leading motivator for massage, but increasingly Americans are looking to massage therapy for medical reasons such as injury recovery, pain management, headache control, and overall health and wellness.

In this year's survey, 40 percent of adults said they have had a massage at some time to relieve pain. Thirty percent of people who had a massage in the past five years did it for health reasons other than stress relief. Fifty-three percent of those who discussed massage with their health care providers said their doctor recommended they get massage therapy.

Many young adults feel massage can be a valuable part of their personal health routine. This year, 72 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 disagreed with the idea that massage is just a luxury. Ninety-two percent say they believe massage can be an effective way to relieve pain, while 48 percent have already had a massage to relieve pain.

Older Americans are increasing their use of massage as well. Annual use has tripled over the past 10 years for those ages 55 to 64, from 7 percent in 1997 to 21 percent in 2006, and for ages 65 and up, from 4 percent in 1997 to 12 percent in 2006.

"Massage is a hot topic," says Mary Beth Braun, president of AMTA. "As the medical community increasingly recognizes its benefits, and as more insurance companies begin to include it in their plans, massage will become a more common component of people's health and wellness practice."

Why people choose massage

  • Men and people 65 and older are especially likely to get massage for medical/health care reasons.
  • Women indicated massage therapy was their first choice when asked what gave them the greatest relief from pain-24 percent, versus 22 percent who chose medication as their number one pain-relief choice.
  • Men placed medication first (24 percent) and massage second (19 percent).
  • The number of people who indicated their massage was paid or co-paid by an insurance company doubled, from 5 percent in 2005 to 10 percent in 2006.
  • Twenty-six percent of respondents gave relaxation or stress reduction as their reason.
  • Twenty-one percent had a massage "because it was free or a gift."

Source:  American Massage Therapy Association, 2006

Home  ·  About  ·  Contact Us
Copyright © Janet Lawlor, BCTMB