Who are Massage Clients, Where Do They Go, How Much Do They Pay?

This article explores the other side of the coin, the clients or patients who seek massage. With the help of the ABM P’s extensive survey which was published by www.massagetherapy.com, we are able to share statistics that further support the anecdotal findings from interacting with our volunteer base and other professionals in the massage industry.

So Who Are Your Massage Clients?

  • They are more women than men – precisely, 60% are female
  • Roughly 16% of the population visited a therapist in a given year
  • 37% of all adults have at some point visited a therapist

Where Do Clients Go to Get Massages?

  • 27% go to massage therapist offices
  • 25% go to spas (clearly with a relaxation motive it appears to us)
  • 16% go to massage franchises like Massage Envy
  • 5% go to massage schools (clients can get a discount here)
  • 4% go to salons
  • 4% go to therapist’s homes (single business practitioners)
  • 3% to various avenues like chair massages in the office, airports, etc.
  • 11% responded “other” which is a combination of several one off, not so common avenues

Why Do Clients Get a Massage?

When asked why massage services were sought, the research study respondents mentioned the following:

  • 70% said for relaxation
  • 66 said for relief of pain
  • 45% said for relief of stress (this can be combined with relaxation)
  • 30% said for injury rehab – many times this is prescribed by chiropractors and injury doctors

The reason these add up to over 100% is that someone can get a massage to satisfy multiple purposes. For example, a client may want to go in for relief of stress and also for overall relaxation.

What Are the Benefits of Massage According to Clients?

  • 87% said to manage stress which is consistent with the need for relaxation in the numbers above
  • 86% said plain relaxation
  • 80% said relief from acute pain
  • 76% said relief from chronic pain
  • 66% said self-care of preventive
  • 51% said injury rehab needs
  • 32% said emotional release (this is an often underrated benefit of massage)
  • 30% said energy balancing (this is not scientifically proven)
  • 19% said postural change

What came across as really surprising to us as we reviewed the ABMP’s research results is the 19% that indicated postural change. Massage therapy works wonders for postural change and we anticipated a much larger number indicating this as the reason they sought massage services.

What Do Clients Pay for Massage?

As you can imagine, the cost of getting a massage is more in bigger metropolitan cities than it is in smaller suburbs. That said, the average cost across the United States is just under $70 for a one hour massage session.

Note that in some massage jobs the hourly pay rate for therapists is lower than this, but when you factor in tips and gratuities you are looking at just around $70 per hour.

Another important point here is that although a “one hour” massage duration is commonly used in the industry, it does not mean that the massage therapist is actually performing a massage for one hour. The one hour time frame (60 minutes) includes time to dress, undress and set up the massage. Realistically, the actual massage (hands on the body) lasts between 45-50 minutes.

There are of course shorter massage sessions such as a half hour massage session and even shorter sessions such as those offer by chair massage therapists and the massages you get at airports and shopping centers.

How Do Massage Clients Find Massage Therapists

This is an important part of the research because from a massage therapist’s standpoint, this helps you target avenues for marketing where you know your clients are searching.

  • 50% of massage clients indicated they found their therapist through an internet searches
  • 30% of massage clients indicated they found their therapist through a personal recommendation from someone
  • 19% of massage clients indicated they found their therapist through a directory or print advertising
  • 7% of massage clients indicated they found their therapist through other massage therapists as referrals
  • 4% of massage clients indicated they found their therapist through one-off and more uncommon methods

The numbers are over 100% for the same reasons mentioned above

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+

Posted in Career Considerations

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