Facts & Studies


Lotus* One in five Americans have had a massage from a massage therapist in the past five years and 13% report receiving one in the past year. This is up 8% from 1997.

* Today, there are more than 60,000 Nationally Certified practitioners that serve millions of consumers.
*The American Reflexology Certification Board’s main purpose is to protect the public and promote the advancement of the field through the recognition of competent reflexologists who practice on a professional basis and choose to be recognized as meeting basic national standards. The ARCB works for the growth of the entire field by encouraging the ongoing development of reflexology associations, and related professional organizations, and legislative activities.
*The Reflexology Association of America, since 1995, formed a non-profit member association dedicated to unifying all reflexologists for the recognition, excellence and professional strength of Reflexology and offer continuing educational credits each year to reflexologists.
*The Reflexology Association of California is a nonprofit state professional reflexology organization that promotes the scientific and professional advancement of the study and art of reflexology and the safety of the public on behalf of its members and society.  RAC offers continuing educational credits to reflexologists each year.
* Nationally Certified practitioners provide expertise in various areas of therapeutic massage and body work; including Swedish massage, shiatsu, polarity therapy, Rolfing®, Trager® techniques, reflexology, neuromuscular therapy and many more.

* In 1996, massage therapy and bodywork was officially offered for the first time as a core medical service in the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. At the Games, Nationally Certified practitioners were providing key medical services.

* Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia now regulate the practice of therapeutic massage and bodywork. Of those, twenty-five states, in addition to the District of Columbia, now use the NCBTMB examination as meeting (in part or in whole) the requirements of regulation.

* NCBTMB currently has over 600 Approved Providers of Continuing Education.
* Consumers spend between $2 and $4 billion dollars annually on visits to massage and bodywork practitioners, totaling approximately 75 million visits each year.
* The three most often cited reasons for getting a therapeutic massage are relaxation (27%), relief of muscle soreness, stiffness or spasm (13%), and stress reduction (10%).
* Health insurers are increasingly expanding coverage to include alternative medicines. In addition, several healthcare network providers use NCBTMB to check the National Certification status of the practitioner.
* Fifty-four percent of primary care physicians and family practitioners say they would encourage their patients to pursue massage therapy as a complement to medical treatment.
* Massage therapy accounts for 18% of the 425 million visits made to alternative healthcare providers each year.
* In 1999, 52% of American adults thought of massage as “therapeutic,” which is up 47% from 1997.
* An estimated 20 million Americans receive massage therapy and bodywork each year, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).
* Approximately 50,000 massage and bodywork practitioners provide 45 million one-hour therapy sessions each year.
* Two thirds of Americans have tried at least one form of alternative therapy or treatment for medical conditions.
* Massage therapy is the third most commonly used form of alternative medicine in the U.S., having been tried by 35% of Americans.
* Women are more likely than men to have tried alternative treatment.
* Forty-two percent of Americans have used some type of alternative care in the past.
* Americans make more visits to see alternative therapists than to see primary-care physicians, spending $21.2 billion.
* The number of massage practitioners in the U.S. is between 120,000 and 160,000.
* Massage and bodywork therapy is sought out by a large number of people in age brackets: 18-24 (22%); 25-34 (31%); 35-44 (25%); 45-54 (22%); 55-64 (19%); and over 65 (9%).
* The most important driver to try an alternative treatment is a recommendation from a friend or family member, which leads 62% of their patients to these providers.

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