Massage Therapy has numerous benefits. Here are some facts to educate you on who benefits, why you should consider regular massages and how it can lead to a better quality of life. These excerpts were cited from American Massage Therapy Association

The primary reason people received massage was for health and wellness reasons.

  • Fifty percent of adult Americans who had a massage between July 2015 and July 2016 received it for medical or health reasons such as pain management, soreness/stiffness/spasms, injury rehabilitation, or overall wellness, a slight decrease from 2015 data.
  • Eighty-nine percent agree that massage can be effective in reducing pain.
  • Twenty-eight percent of massage consumers had a massage for relaxation/stress reduction between July 2015 and July 2016.

More Americans discussing massage with their doctors or health care providers.

  • In July 2016, more than fifty-one million American adults (17 percent) had discussed massage therapy with their doctors or health care providers in the previous year, consistent with past years data.4
  • Of those 17 percent who discussed massage with their doctor or health care provider, 63 percent of their doctors or health care providers referred them to a therapist/strongly recommended massage therapy/encouraged them to get a massage. While physicians led the way in recommending massage (56 percent vs. 54 percent in 2015), chiropractors (46 percent, unchanged from 2015) and physical therapists (52 percent vs. 37 percent in 2015) also recommended massage therapy when their patients discussed it with them.4
  • More referrals come from chiropractic offices than other sources, with 10 percent of respondents reporting receiving referrals at least once per week, and another 23% receiving referrals several times per month. Fifty-six percent of massage therapists received at least one referral every 6 months or less from a hospital or medical office in 2016.6

Massage therapists and consumers favor integration of massage into health care.

  • Nearly two-thirds of adult Americans (64 percent) would like to see their insurance cover massage therapy.4
  • The vast majority of massage therapists (97 percent) believe massage therapy should be considered part of the health care field.6

Massage Therapy Research

The therapeutic benefits of massage continue to be researched and studied. Recent research has shown the effectiveness of massage for the following conditions:

  • Cancer-related fatigue8
  • Low back pain9
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee10
  • Reducing post-operative pain11
  • Boosting the body’s immune system functioning12
  • Decreasing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome13
  • Lowering blood pressure14
  • Reducing headache frequency15
  • Easing alcohol withdrawal symptoms17
  • Decreasing pain in cancer patients17
  • Fibromyalgia18

1 Data compiled by American Massage Therapy Association 2016.
2 IBIS World Industry Report OD6028 Massage Services, November 2015
3 IBIS World Industry Report 62139b Alternative Healthcare Providers in the US, December 2016
4 2016 AMTA Consumer Surveys
5 5 2017 Zogby Analytics survey
6 2016 AMTA Industry Survey
7 AMTA Consumer Surveys 2003-2016
8 Currin, J. Meister, E.A. (2008) A hospital-based intervention using massage to reduce distress among oncology patients. Cancer Nurs. 31(3):214-21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18453878?ordinalpos=3&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
9 Preyde M. (2003) Effectiveness of massage therapy for subacute low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Soft Tissue Manipulation, 8, 4 – 10.
10 Perlman AI, Sabina A, Williams AL, Njike VY, Katz DL. (2006) Massage Therapy for Osteoarthritis of the Knee. Arch Intern Med. 166(22):2533-8.
11 Piotrowski, M., Paterson, C., Mitchinson, A., Kim, H. M., Kirsh, M., Hinshaw, D. B. (2003) Massage as Adjuvant Therapy in the Management of Acute Postoperative Pain: A Preliminary Study in Men. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 197(6), 1037-1046.
12 Rapaport, M. H., Schettler, P., Bresee, C. (2010) A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(10), 1-10.
13 Field, T., Diego, Miguel, Cullen, Christy, Hartshorn, Kristin, Gruskin, Alan, Hernandez-Reif, Maria, Sunshine, William. (2004). Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are lessened following massage. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 8:9-14. http://www.massagetherapyfoundation.org/pdf/Massage%20and%20carpal%20tunnel%20syndrome.pdf
14 Hernandez-Reif M, Field T, Krasnegor J, Theakston H, Hossain Z, Burman I (2000). High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 4, 31 – 38.
15 Quinn C, Chandler C, Moraska A. Massage Therapy & Frequency of Chronic Tension Headaches. (2002) American Journal of Public Health. 92(10):1657-61
16 Reader M, Young R, Connor JP. (2005) Massage therapy improves the management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. J Altern Complement Med. 11(2):311-3. PMID: 15865498.
17 American College of Physicians. (2008) Massage Therapy May Have Immediate Positive Effect On Pain And Mood For Advanced Cancer Patients. Science Daily 16 September. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080915174534.htm.
18 Castro-Sánchez, A.M., Matarán-Peñarrocha, G.A., Granero-Molina, J., Aguilera-Manrique, G., Quesada-Rubio, J.M., Moreno-Lorenzo, C. (2011). Benefits of massage-myofascial release therapy on pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression, and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011:561753.
Released February 23, 2017
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