Are you noticing more clients coming to your massage therapy practice to treat medical conditions? The perception among clients about massage has quickly evolved over the years.

massage for medical benefits

Massage for medical benefits

Once upon a time, most people thought of massage therapy as a method of pampering or short-term relaxation. But with scientific studies backing it up, awareness of massage therapy has grown by leaps and bounds as a safe and effective medical treatment that can be used in conjunction with other therapies to maintain the good health of your clients.

This transition from pampering to treating medical conditions was made loud and clear in a 2012 consumer survey released by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Only 31 percent of the survey’s respondents considered massage therapy to be a form of pampering. Also telling was the drop in the number of clients who received a massage at a spa (19 percent) in 2012, compared to 2011 (23 percent).

This decline may be attributed to the growth out of new outlets – medical clinics, chiropractors and health clubs – for massage therapists, indicating “consumers identify massage as an important component of overall health and wellness,” according to the AMTA study.

Another indicator that clients are migrating from spas to other venues to seek out a massage therapist: More than half of the respondents in the AMTA study reported that their doctor had encouraged or recommended that they get a massage. But MDs aren’t the only ones recommending massage therapy, according to an AMTA Fact Sheet that included statistics from previous years. Chiropractors, physical therapists and nurses were just as instrumental in referring their patients to a massage therapist. What’s more, the study shows that massage therapists on average received at least four referrals a month last year.

Why clients are getting massages

The numbers reported in the 16th annual AMTA survey speak volumes about the transition of massage therapy from pampering to wellness.


American Massage Therapy Association

Melissa Wood, ND