According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), the massage therapy industry generates about $16 billion in the United States per year, almost three times its value in 2005.
Today, at least 1% of Americans take part in the massage industry, with 350,000 individuals being massage therapists and students. Let’s delve into what massage therapy involves.
Who is a Massage Therapist?
Massage therapists are specialists who use touch to manipulate muscles and other soft tissues as a form of treatment. With skills like kneading and compression, they help to relieve soreness, increase relaxation, rehabilitate injuries, and support the general wellbeing of their clients.
Many reasons motivate Americans to seek massage treatment. In a 2018 study by AMTA, 67% of respondents said they attended massage sessions due to medical or stress-related reasons. Some conditions which are treatable with clinical massage include low-back pain, fibromyalgia pain, sleeping problems, osteoarthritis pain, cardiovascular health, and more.
Becoming a Massage Therapist
Before the launch of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), the massage industry remained unregulated in many states. Today, at least 46 states regulate massage, with some offering voluntary state-level certification. The State of Washington requires massage therapists to practice after passing the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), a licensure test regulated by the FSMTB.
You may also be eligible if you hold a massage license from another state whose licensing requirements are comparable to those of Washington. The final option is graduating from a foreign massage training program approved by the regulatory agency in charge at your time of graduation.
Massage Therapy and Health Care
Traditionally, mainstream medical consultants were skeptical about massage therapy. Things changed after scientific studies showed professional massage therapy to be more effective in alleviating certain types of pain and stress than many other existing remedies.
As more states regulate and license massage, the treatment will become universally popular as a procedure in mainstream healthcare. AMTA has noted an upsurge in the patients considering massage after discussing its benefits with their doctors.
Typical Massage Patients
Massage clients come from different fields. Examples include athletes with sports injuries, patients with injuries from car accidents, and people enduring chronic pain for years. A significant number will come looking to relieve stress. The needs of every client will depend on the situation.
With rapid developments in the industry, massage therapists will have endless opportunities in the coming years. For this reason, this is the opportune time to enroll for clinical massage training.
If you’re in the Seattle area, the admissions department at Northwest Academy for the Healing Arts will be happy to help. Contact us today for more on our courses.