Fewer Men Use Massage Therapy for Pain

September 24, 2010

Men are using less massage therapy, according to the results from an AMTA survey.

Men are using less massage therapy, according to the results from the 14th annual consumer survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association.

Massage among men has dropped from 18% in 2009 to 10% in 2010. The drop is attributed to the lagging economy over the past two years. Survey results were announced at the AMTA National Convention in Minneapolis, from September 22-25.

Recent statistics indicate in 2010 men have been putting off their healthcare appointments, including visits for regular check-ups, screenings and vaccinations. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) about 57% of men have visited a physician within the past year, compared with about 74% of women. This trend is now impacting massage therapy in men as well.

For women, massage use dropped from 26% in 2009 to 25% in 2010. The lower use of massage by men has contributed to an overall drop in the number of adults using massage from 22% in 2009 to 18% in 2010.

“We know from our AMTA survey results in the last 14 years that massage therapy usage has been on an overall upward trend, as people are realizing the health benefits of massage to manage pain and keep them active, as well as being an excellent means to relieve stress,” said Kathleen Miller-Read, AMTA president, in a press release. “We believe that as the economic climate improves, men will return to massage therapy as part of their regular health maintenance plan.”

Though the number has dropped this past year, there has been an overall growing number of people in recent years seeking massage as part of health care. There has also been an increase in physician referrals to massage therapists. The trend has sparked the inclusion of educational sessions on massage for the relief of pain stemming from a variety of causes, as well as for pregnancy, sports injuries and cancer at the 2010 AMTA convention.

Statistics demonstrate that 86% of Americans still agree that massage can be effective in reducing pain, while 84% agree massage can be beneficial for health and wellness. More than half of the men and women surveyed said they have had a massage to relieve pain.

About 40% of stressed out Americans are getting massages to relieve their stress, which has increased from 32% in 2009.

“Stress, among other factors, is a popular reason why people get massage,” said Miller-Read. “In a year where the economy is such a stress inducer, AMTA is pleased that people are increasingly turning to massage for stress relief.”