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Statistics: Massage Therapists

Number of trained massage therapists in the United States1

  • January 2013: 320,000
  • January 2010: 300,000
  • January 2008: 278,000
  • January 2006: 241,058
  • January 1999: 137,390

Massage therapists by state2

  • Most massage therapists: California (43,200)
  • Fewest massage therapists: Wyoming (661)
  • Highest concentration: Hawaii (1 massage therapist for every 250 residents)
  • Lowest concentration: Alabama (1 massage therapist for every 3,876 residents)
  • Regional concentrations: the Southwest, Northwest, Northeast, Florida and Hawaii all report high concentrations of massage therapists. The Southeast (excluding Florida) has the lowest regional concentration.

Massage therapist demographics3

  • Average age: 43
  • Median age: 42
  • 83% female
  • 66% married/partnered
  • 85% have at least some college (in addition to massage training)
  • 53% have college degree
  • 10% have master’s degree or higher
  • 85% Caucasian

Primary techniques used3

  • Swedish massage (33.8%)
  • Deep tissue/neuromuscular therapy (33.6%)
  • Energy healing (4.2%)
  • Myofascial release (3.5%)
  • Sports massage (2.4%)
  • Trigger point therapy (2.4%)

Secondary techniques used3

  • Swedish massage (69.3%)
  • Deep tissue/neuromuscular therapy (60.3%)
  • On-site, e.g. chair massage and kiosks in malls and airports (53.5%)
  • Hot stone (51.8%)
  • Reflexology (48.9%)
  • Pregnancy massage (48%)
  • Sports massage (45.7%)
  • Energy healing (44.3%)

Membership organizations

Approximately 42% of practicing massage therapists belong to one of two full-service professional membership associations serving the field. Including student members, more than 80,000 belong to Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) and more than 56,000 to American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

Sources:
1. In the states where licensure of massage therapists is in effect, state boards were contacted to obtain current licensing totals. In the other states, ABMP developed an estimate through analysis of totals from primary membership organizations (ABMP and AMTA), the distribution of National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork certificants, and state populations. General receptivity toward massage in particular regions was also factored in.
2. 2010 ABMP Massage Therapist Population Estimate
3. 2009 ABMP Member Survey




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