Massage therapists held about 120,000 jobs in 2007-8 in the United States. About 64 percent were self-employed. There are many more people who practice massage therapy as a secondary source of income who were not included in these statistics. As a result, some industry sources estimate that more than 200,000 people practice massage therapy in some capacity.
Of those self-employed, most owned their own business, and the rest worked as independent contractors. Others found employment in salons and spas; the offices of physicians and chiropractors; fitness and recreational sports centers; and hotels. Employment growth for massage therapists is expected to grow faster than average compared to other occupations, leading to very good job prospects, particularly for those seeking part-time work. Employment for massage therapists is expected to increase 20 percent from 2008 to 2016, Employment will grow as more people learn about the benefits of massage therapy.
Increased interest in alternative medicine and holistic healing will translate into new openings for those skilled in massage therapy. Health-care providers and medical insurance companies are beginning to recognize massage therapy as a legitimate treatment and preventative measure for several types of injuries and illnesses. The health care industry is using massage therapy more often as a supplement to conventional medical techniques for ailments such as muscle problems, some sicknesses and diseases, and stress-related health problems. Massage therapy’s growing acceptance as a medical tool, particularly by the medical provider and insurance industries, will have the greatest impact on new job growth for massage therapists.
A survey of U.S. consumers about their massage use shows that 25 million more Americans each year are getting a massage today than they did 10 years ago, with 39 million American adults—more than one out of every six—getting massage annually. Older baby boomers (ages 55 to 64), in particular, have tripled their use of massage over the past 10 years, as have those ages 65 and older.
Also among the survey results: