How Many Massage Therapists are there in the US and Where Do They Work?

The most recent study conducted by the ABMP indicated that there are roughly 35,000 new massage therapists each year, or at least those that complete their massage therapy training programs.

The assumption of course is that most of these, if not all, go on to obtain their licenses and become licensed massage therapists who practice massage at all sorts of places like clinics, rehab facilities, spas and hotels. That said, many others who are existing practitioners also give up massage for various reasons.

In 1998, the registered number of trained massage therapists was 137,000. In 2013, this number ballooned to 320,000. Although we are seeing the growth in this profession level off, we do anticipate the overall number to increase given the Bureau of Labor and Economic Growth’s projection through 2020.

Where Do Massage Therapists Work and Live?

The number of massage therapists is not equally divided between the 50 states. Naturally, this number mirrors the State’s population and overall receptiveness and need of its residents to massage services.

The State with the most massage therapists living and working within is California, with over 40,000 massage therapists as of 2014. Wyoming had the fewest at under 700. In terms of number of massage therapists per capita, or per resident, Hawaii had the best at 1 massage therapist for every 250 residents while Alabama had the biggest spread at 1 massage therapist for every 4,000 or so residents.

Note: These numbers were published by www.massagetherapy.com resulting from an ABMP research study.

Below are additional numbers and a breakdown of each category published by the same organization.

Massage Therapist Demographics

  • 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 Massage Techniques Used

  • 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 Used by Massage Therapists

  • 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%)

Quite an interesting and not so surprising breakdown. Majority of massage therapists are females who have other jobs as well. Swedish continues to be the most popular massage service, followed by deep tissue.

Massage Therapy Membership Organizations

There are two main organizations that are the most recognized in the massage industry. These are the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) and the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). These two organizations have over 130,000 members with the ABMP with over 80,000 and the AMTA over 50,000. Roughly 40%+ of all practicing massage therapists belong to one of these two organizations.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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