Massage therapy is an age-old practice that has been used to promote relaxation and cure illnesses for thousands of years. However, massage statistics show that this practice fell outside the mainstream treatments and was regarded as a luxury in the early 20th century.
Today, more healthcare providers acknowledge the effectiveness of massage therapy and recommend it to their patients. Moreover, several clinical trials have shown that injuries and diseases respond to massage therapy.
Dive in to learn all about massage therapy through the stats and facts we gathered in this article.
Top 10 Massage Statistics and Facts
- Early massage therapy traditions originated in India.
- Ancient Egyptians were the creators of reflexology.
- Massage therapy was used in the United States during World War I.
- Massage therapy induces the immediate release of endorphins.
- Massage is an effective complementary treatment for cancer.
- In 2018, the US massage therapy industry was worth $18 billion.
- The global massage equipment market was worth $6.9 billion in 2018.
- In 2019, the average annual wage for massage therapists was $29,349.
- Women dominate the massage therapy industry.
- Approximately 70% of American adults use massage therapy for health purposes.
General Massage Therapy Facts
1. Early massage therapy traditions originated in India.
(Academy of Natural Therapy)
Massage therapy in India dates back to 3000 BC or earlier.
Hindus used a combination of meditation, relaxation, and aromatherapy known as Ayurveda to relieve pain, cure injuries, and prevent illnesses.
2. The first known Chinese massage text dates back to 2700 BC.
The Chinese text known as the Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine documents the medical benefits of massage therapy.
The Chinese used different types of massage therapy to rebalance energy levels and cure diseases.
3. Ancient Egyptians are the creators of reflexology.
(Academy of Natural Therapy)
Reflexology was first recorded as a pictograph on the Ankhmahor tomb in Egypt in 2330 BC.
Ancient Egyptians used reflexology to heal themselves by applying pressure to specific points on the feet and hands.
4. Buddhist Monks brought massage therapy to Japan in 1000 BC.
Early massage therapy—shiatsu—was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks from China.
Namely, shiatsu was developed to create a natural resistance to illnesses by regulating organ function.
5. Greek athletes used massage therapy to condition their bodies.
Massage facts reveal that massage therapy became prominent in Greece between 800–700 BC.
In the 5th century, Hippocrates used massage therapy to treat injuries using his technique called anatripsis, which translates to “friction.”
6. The Swedish Gymnastic Movement System was developed in the early 1800s.
The system was developed by the Swedish physician Per Henrik Ling to help reduce chronic pain. It formed the foundation for the famous Swedish massage, which is widely used in the West today.
7. Massage therapy was used in the United States during World War I.
(Academy of Natural Therapy)
According to the lesser-known massage facts, massage therapy was used to treat patients who suffered from nerve injury or shell shock during the war.
8. Massage therapy gained immense popularity in the US in the 1980s.
(Academy of Natural Therapy)
Massage therapy was a part of the 1984 Olympics in Atlanta and was a major treatment for athletes.
Types of Massage
There are many different massage types. Here are some of the most prominent ones:
- Swedish massage
- Hot stone massage
- Deep tissue massage
- Sports massage
- Trigger point massage
- Lymphatic drainage massage
- Pregnancy massage
- Chair massage
9. Massage stats reveal that Swedish massage is the most popular massage type.
This is the most common type of massage practiced in the US. It’s also known as the classic massage.
Swedish massage is a full body massage that involves soft, kneading strokes. It releases muscle knots and provides relaxation.
10. Hot stone massage helps expand blood vessels.
The hot stone massage has existed for over 5000 years in India. It’s quite similar to the Swedish massage.
Massage trends reveal that this massage type involves using heated stones to improve blood flow and relieve muscle tension. It also relieves stress and provides relaxation.
11. Deep tissue massage is used to lower blood pressure.
Deep tissue massage is an excellent treatment for chronic injuries, soreness, and anxiety.
According to a recent study, just one deep tissue massage session can reduce blood pressure, which is one of the most popular types of therapeutic massage therapy.
12. Sports massage prevents athlete injuries before and after an athlete competes.
Sports massage involves the application of pressure to targeted muscles and connective tissues within the body. It includes stretching movements that improve flexibility, aid healing, and prevent injuries.
13. Reflexology relieves pain and strains.
Reflexology alleviates feet pain, toe pain, and ankle strain using a combination of sports and Swedish massages. It’s a deeply relaxing massage that reduces stress throughout the whole body and improves sleep.
14. Trigger point therapy is an effective therapy for pain.
This type of massage uses broad, gentle flowing strokes to reduce pain in the neck, back, or shoulders.
This type of massage has health benefits that are very effective for people with chronic pain or injuries.
15. Lymphatic drainage massage is designed to improve lymph circulation throughout the body.
A therapist can increase the circulation of lymph fluids in the body using light pressure. The lymphatic drainage massage enables the lymph nodes to flush out impurities more easily.
16. Prenatal massage can help reduce arm and leg swelling during pregnancy.
Prenatal massage involves the use of massage pillows to reduce pain and swelling. This type of massage is effective for relieving stress during pregnancy.
17. Aromatherapy utilizes certain types of massage oil to provide emotional healing.
This type of massage is effective for emotional healing. It eases muscle tension, reduces stress, and lifts mood.
18. Chair massage focuses on the back, shoulders, and neck.
This is a quick kind of massage that involves a specially designed massage chair. The chair produces light to medium pressure that reduces stress and enhances relaxation.
Types of Asian Massage
Here are the various Asian massage types:
- Ayurvedic massage
- Thai massage
- Tui-na massage
- Chi Nei Tsang massage
- Shiatsu massage
- Javanese massage
- Balinese massage
19. Ayurvedic massage forms the basis of other Asian massages.
(The Massage Rooms)
Ayurvedic massage is based on the Indian Ayurveda philosophy. It’s one of the oldest and most widely practiced types of massage.
Ayurvedic massage enhances mental alertness, tones the muscles, and improves blood circulation.
20. Thai massage originated in northern India.
(The Massage Rooms)
This is an active type of massage where the therapist moves the clients’ body into multiple positions that are sometimes quite extreme.
This massage type involves the compression of muscles that can improve flexibility and energy levels.
21. Tui-na adopts the same techniques as deep tissue massage.
(Pacific College of Health and Science)
This is one of the two most popular types of Chinese massage, and it bears some similarities to deep tissue massage.
Namely, it involves kneading, stretching, and chopping movements known to alleviate sore points and blockages in the body.
22. Chi Nei Tsang focuses primarily on the abdomen.
The Chi Nei Tsang type of massage applies Chinese and Thai massage techniques to detoxify your digestive system. The therapist massages the stomach to restore balance to the digestive system.
23. Shiatsu is the most popular type of Japanese massage.
Of all the types of Japanese massage, shiatsu is the most popular. It corrects body imbalances using the thumbs, fingers, and palms.
Shiatsu aims to enhance emotional and physical calmness while promoting relaxation.
24. Javanese massage is a vigorous type of Asian massage.
(Massagers And More)
Javanese massage is one of the most popular Indonesian massages. Similar to the sports massage in the West, Indonesian therapists use rigorous techniques to massage the body.
Javanese massage is known to ease muscle aches and joint pain.
25. Balinese massage employs relaxing rolling and kneading techniques.
While the Balinese massage originates from Indonesia as well, it takes on a softer approach. The therapist uses a combination of essential oils, stretching, and relaxing techniques.
The Balinese massage enhances immunity levels and can help with sleep disorders.
Health Benefits of Massage Therapy
26. Massage therapy induces the immediate release of endorphins.
(Better Health Channel)
Endorphins provide a feeling of relaxation and calmness. They also reduce the levels of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
27. Certain types of massage services are aimed at improving mental alertness.
(Better Health Channel)
Massage therapy is known to boost mental health.
Moreover, the results of 17 clinical trials indicate that massage therapy helps reduce depression.
28. Massage therapy enhances joint mobility and flexibility.
(Better Health Channel)
Massage stimulates the lymphatic system, accelerates recovery of soft tissue injuries, reduces muscle tension, and improves skin tone. Also, it enhances the range of motion of joints.
29. Massage therapy can alleviate back pain and headaches.
Multiple studies suggest that one of the benefits of massage is its ability to reduce migraines and improve sleep effectively.
30. Massage therapy helps treat osteoarthritis.
A clinical trial examining the effects of the Swedish massage on knee osteoarthritis found that this type of massage therapy effectively reduced pain and stiffness associated with this condition.
31. Massages can help treat some symptoms of fibromyalgia.
A 2014 study revealed that massage therapy alleviates specific fibromyalgia symptoms. If massages continue for an extended period, they can reduce pain, anxiety, and depression.
32. Some types of body massage are used as complementary treatments for cancer.
Studies show that massage therapy reduces cancer symptoms or the side effects of its treatments, such as pain and fatigue.
Massages are also known to enhance the immune system.
33. Massage therapy can improve the quality of life in people with HIV/AIDS.
According to a 2013 study, 54 individuals indicated that massage therapy effectively reduces depression in people with HIV.
A 2017 study also reveals that massages reduce anxiety in people with HIV.
The Massage Industry Market Size
34. The global massage equipment market was worth $6.9 billion in 2018.
(Grand View Research)
Massage chairs and sofas had the largest market share, accounting for over 50% of the massage industry.
North America was the dominating region, generating $2.8 billion in revenue. Moreover, the industry is projected to grow by $8.01 billion between 2019–2023.
35. The global massage oil market is projected to register a CAGR of 5% between 2020–2030.
This market is led by spa and wellness centers, contributing 54% to the global massage oil revenue. Europe remains the global, regional leader, holding over 35% of the market share.
36. In 2018, the US massage therapy industry was worth $18 billion.
Massage industry statistics indicate a significant increase from projections in 2005 when the industry was projected to be worth around $6–$11 billion each year.
37. The US massage services industry is worth $15.8 billion.
The US massage services industry grew at a CAGR of 2.8% between 2015–2020. The industry is likely to see a 1.5% growth by the end of 2020.
38. Between 2014–2018, the revenue from the US complementary health providers increased by 3.6%.
Massage facts and statistics reveal that the revenue from complementary health providers, including massage therapists, is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 1.9% between 2019–2024.
39. Massage Envy is the largest massage franchise in the US.
Massage Envy has over 1,150 locations in 49 US states, with about 1.65 million members. The franchise generated a revenue of about $730 billion between 2007–2018.
40. Massage facts reveal that Zeel is the leading on-demand massage company in the United States.
Zeel changed the face of the massage industry by becoming the first company to offer same-day, in-home massages to clients.
Zeel is located in more than 65 US cities and boasts over 6,000 licensed massage therapists.
US Massage Therapy Statistics
41. There are approximately 385,000 massage therapists and massage school students in the country.
According to the recent massage statistics, the industry’s employment rate increased by 2.7% between 2014–2018. It is projected to increase by 22% between 2018–2028.
42. Roughly 76% of massage therapists are sole practitioners.
Approximately 56% of massage therapists work at their client’s homes, 45% work in their office, 29% in their homes, 25% in a healthcare environment, and 24% provide massage services at a spa.
43. Women dominate the massage therapy industry.
Massage therapy industry statistics indicate that about 88% of all massage therapists in the country are women.
Also, massage therapists are mostly middle-aged, and only 22% of them are younger than 35.
44. In 2019, the average massage therapist worked 26.6 hours a week.
While massage therapists in 2018 worked the same hours, this increased from 24.2 hours per week in 2017.
45. In 2019, the average annual wage for massage therapists was $29,349.
Massage therapists charged an average of $75.23 per hour of massage in 2019. According to massage facts, this is a notable increase from $48.11 in 2016.
The US Massage Therapy Consumer Statistics
46. Approximately 48 million adults attended at least one massage session between July 2018 and July 2019.
Stats indicate that about 21% of adults in the United States had at least one massage between July 2018 and July 2019.
On average, 32% of adults in the country have received a massage in the last five years.
47. A 2019 survey revealed that 24% of American women had received a massage in the past year.
Massage therapy statistics indicate that women are more likely to receive massage than men. According to the survey, only 16% of men received a massage in the previous year.
48. Approximately 70% of American adults use massage therapy for health purposes.
A survey carried out between July 2018 and July 2019, revealed that most adults received a massage because of various health concerns, including pain and injuries.
About 42% received messages to treat soreness and spasms.
49. In 2019, 33% of consumers received a massage in a spa.
According to the recent massage statistics, around 38% of consumers had a massage in the therapist’s office.
Moreover, approximately 19% got a massage in a hotel or their home, and 16% enjoyed it in a chiropractor’s office.
How common is massage therapy?
Massage therapy is gaining immense popularity, as more doctors are beginning to recommend it to their patients.
According to a 2019 survey from AMTA, approximately 43 million American adults had discussed massage therapy with their doctors in 2018.
Moreover, about 21% of American adults had attended at least one massage session between July 2018 and July 2019.
What is the average age of a massage therapist?
The average age of a massage therapist in the United States is 40.9 years. Most massage therapists enter the massage therapy profession as a second career.
How many hours a week should a massage therapist work?
According to AMTA, the average massage therapist worked 26.6 hours per week in 2018 and 2019, an increase from 24.2 hours in 2017.
Are massage therapists in high demand?
Massage therapists are in high demand, and this trend will continue to grow in the coming years.
While employment opportunities for massage therapists increased by 2.7% between 2014–2018, they are expected to grow by 22% between 2018–2028.
What is considered as getting a massage?
Massage therapy involves the manipulation of soft tissues by a trained massage therapist. It involves applying proper pressure to specific areas of the body to promote relaxation.
Massage therapy can also be used to heal injuries and soreness.
Does massage affect the whole body?
This depends on the type of massage you choose. While Swedish massage affects the whole body, the sports massage is specific to certain areas.
However, getting a full body massage is exceptionally beneficial, as it promotes blood flow and enhances the relaxation of the cardiovascular system.
Which is the best type of massage for heart health?
Massage is generally beneficial for the heart as it improves blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and slows down the heart rate.
However, some types of massage may be harmful to people with heart problems. For example, the Swedish massage should not be done on a person with a blood clot history as it may cause a stroke or heart attack.
It’s best to consult your doctor or therapist on what type of massage is best for you.
Although massage therapy is an ancient practice, it remains an efficient way of promoting relaxation and improving health. Massage therapy is used to ease muscle tension, injuries, and improve the lives of cancer patients.
Massage statistics indicate that the industry is set to grow significantly in the coming years. This is mostly due to the recognition and recommendations from health care providers.
Moreover, the demand for massage therapists is bound to grow, as more people seek to rid themselves of day-to-day stress.
- Academy of Natural Therapy
- Better Health Channel
- Florida Academy
- Grand View Research
- IBIS World
- Massagers And More
- Natural Healers
- Pacific College of Health and Science
- PR Newswire
- Research Gate
- Verywell Health
- Verywell Health