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Health-care integration for massage therapy on the rise: AMTA study

Feb. 7, 2014 — A recent study released by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) indicates a continuously growing integration of massage therapy in health-care environments, strengthened by a steadily increasing number of referrals from heath-care professionals.


February 7, 2014
By Massage Therapy Canada staff

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More massage therapists received referrals from health-care
professionals in 2013 with particular increases from chiropractors and
integrated health clinics (70 per cent in 2013 versus 67 per cent in
2012) and from other healthcare professionals (73 per cent in 2013
versus 69 per cent in 2012), according to the AMTA study.

The
health-care industry also continues to offer employment opportunities
for massage therapists in a variety of settings. The industry added
19,000 jobs per month in 2013, making it one of the fastest growing
sectors of the economy. Twenty-six per cent of massage therapists
reported working in a health-care setting in 2013 (18 per cent in a
chiropractic office / integrated health-care clinic and 8 per cent in a
hospital / medical office or clinic) slightly less than the 27 per cent
of therapists working in health-care settings the previous year.

The
AMTA’s seventh annual summary research on the state of the massage
therapy profession was released and discussed today at the AMTA 2014
Massage Schools Summit in San Diego, Calif.
 
As the demographics
of the U.S. change, the opportunities for massage therapists continue to
evolve, and the dynamics of massage therapy employment and private
practice interact, this compilation of research is a vital resource for
all in the massage therapy field, the AMTA said. This is reflected in
both the data on how massage therapists practice and how consumers
accept massage.
 
"This research and analyses can be very
important for our members and everyone in the profession," says AMTA
president Winona Bontrager. "Our profession and how massage therapy is
accepted by consumers and those in health care continues to change and
we all need to understand how it is changing. Knowing the realities of
the marketplace is essential if we want to be successful in our
profession."
 
Based on four surveys conducted for AMTA in recent
months, and data from government agencies, the research continues to
show that consumers ultimately determine the health of the massage
therapy profession and that they accept the value of massage therapy as
part of health and well-being.
 
Consumer research indicates
Americans continue to strongly believe in the efficacy of massage
therapy, but the economy affected how many massages they received. The
percentage of adults who received a massage stayed steady at 16 per cent
in 2013, while the average number of massages received went from 4.2 in
2012 to 4.1 in 2013. Approximately 34.9 million people had a total of
143 million massages in 2013, a 1.3 per cent decline from the 145
million massages received in the U.S. by 34.5 million people in 2012.
Although most age groups saw declines in use in 2013, those 18 to 35 and
those 55-64 did see slight increases.
 
Americans continue to
believe in the efficacy of massage as 88 per cent consider massage to be
effective in reducing pain and 88 per cent believe massage can be
beneficial to health and wellness. The primary reason people received
massage continued to be for medical purposes — pain relief,
soreness/stiffness and recovery from injury – with 43 per cent of
massage consumers getting massage for these reasons.
 
Practicing
massage therapists reported working, on average, the same number of
hours this past year, while the health-care industry continued to offer
employment opportunities for massage therapists in a variety of
settings. On average, massage therapists worked 21.2 hours per week in
2013, similar to the 21.6 hours per week in 2012. They saw an average of
43 clients each month, up from 41 clients per month the year before.
Their gross annual income from massage therapy also increased to $21,871
per year in 2013 from $20,789 in 2012. 
 
Between 2012 and 2013,
the estimated number of massage therapists grew by 4 per cent to
319,870. The number of massage therapists has increased 47 per cent over
the past ten years, but the number has increased only 11 per cent in
the past five years indicating a slowing of growth in the number of
therapists. Most massage therapists continue to be female (88 per cent),
had a different profession prior to becoming a therapist (82 per cent),
have formal education beyond a high school diploma (88 per cent) and
are sole practitioners (62 per cent).

Read AMTA’s 2014 Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet here.

 


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