• ABMP estimates 278,000 trained therapists provide massage and bodywork in the United States. i
• Fourteen percent of U.S. adults visited a massage therapist in 2008, and 42 percent have received a
professional massage sometime in their life.ii
• Consumers in 2009 had a positive response to a massage, with 80 percent reporting favorable feelings
about their most recent experience.iii
• The median price for a one-hour massage is $65 (Harstad Strategic Research 2009 Consumer Survey).
• A higher proportion of American adults received at least one massage therapy session in 2009 than
accessed chiropractic or physical therapy services. Most physical therapy services and many chiropractic
treatments are reimbursed by health insurance, while more than 90 percent of massage therapy
sessions are paid out of the client’s pocket.iv
• The number of state-approved schools is 1,568. (ABMP survey of state-approved massage schools,
• The Society for Human Resource Management reported in 2007 that 13 percent of its 210,000 member
companies offer workplace massage. An earlier Working Mother article found 77 percent of the top 100 U.
S. companies offered massage at work.
• There are as many as 250 known types of massage and bodywork, with new massage modalities
emerging every year.v
• In the 43 states with licensing (including D.C.), uniform rules apply throughout each particular state,
though the detailed requirements vary. Local requirements in the current eight non-licensed states vary
• Spas employ an estimated 303,700people in the United States—www.experienceispa.com.
• Swedish massage therapy is the most requested service in spas and spas are the most common place
to receive a massage (43 percent of all sessions.) (ISPA 2008 Global Consumer Survey and Harstad
Consumer Research 2009).
• Revenues for the U.S. spa industryin 2007 were $10.9 billion, up from $9.4 billion in 2006. This
represents an average annual growth of 18 percent—www.experienceispa.com.
• Women make up the majority of spa consumers (69 percent), according to the ISPA 2006 Spa-goer
Benefits of Massage
• Massage therapy is a safe and effective way to reduce pain and improve function in adults with
osteoarthritis of the knee, reports a 2006 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
• The Annals of Internal Medicine reported in 2003 that massage therapy was effective for treating
persistent back pain, as did a 2000 report by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
• Research has shown massage reduces carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. The Journal of Bodywork
and Movement Therapies, 2004.
• Premature infant massage in the NICU was reported in Neonatal Network to be effective in increasing
weight gain, improving developmental scores, shortening hospital stays and improving parent-baby
• Pediatric healthcare staff report increasing hospital use of complementary and alternative medicine,
including massage and energy work (Advance for Nurses, April 2007.)
• Touch Therapy Institute at the University of Miami reports its massage therapy studies indicate
* Reducing mothers’ risk for premature delivery and postpartum depression; improved sleep for
* Reduced pain from migraines and arthritis.
* Reduced aggression in adolescents and less hyperactivity in adolescents with ADHD.
* Greater alertness in autistic children.
* Better lung function in asthmatic children.
* Decreased glucose levels in diabetic children.
* Less stress and improved performance for employees receiving work-site massage.
i January 2008 analysis was based on state licensing lists, totals from primary membership organizations [ABMP and
AMTA], and state populations. General receptivity toward massage in particular regions was also factored in.
ii Harstad Strategic Research 2009 National Consumer Survey of 602 adults 21 years and older, conducted January 6-11.
v Massage, bodywork and somatic therapies are often complex mixtures of holistic healing practices involving physical,
emotional and spiritual components. The definitions in the Massagetherapy.com glossary (www.massagetherapy.
com/glossary) have been compiled from a wide variety of sources over two decades. Some were supplied by developers of
techniques, others by associations and educational institutions. Still others are a blend of data gleaned from several
vi Compiled from state websites, not including the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories. For more information, visit
www.massagetherapy.com/media and click on "Public Policy and Licensing."