Massage Therapy Statistics In The United States

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Massage Therapy In The United States

In the United States, there are approximately 321k registered massage therapists, with a substantial majority, about 235k, operating as self-employed individuals. The remaining 86k are employed by practices, resorts, spas, and physical therapists, earning an average salary of $57k. The data also shows general average earnings for the industry at just under $29k, reflecting the variability in earnings between self-employed and salaried therapists. This information offers a detailed view of the industry’s employment distribution and financial landscape.

The data provided offers an intriguing look at the distribution of massage therapists across each state in the U.S. relative to their populations. This analysis will explore the numbers, highlight notable observations, and speculate on potential reasons behind these distributions.

Highest Concentration of Massage Therapists

California leads with 50,247 massage therapists serving a population of 39,029,342. This large number likely reflects the state’s size, diverse population, and significant health and wellness industry presence. Florida follows with 38,189 therapists for a population of 22,244,823, also indicative of a large state with a high demand for wellness services, possibly driven by its sizable retired population.

Significant Numbers in Large States

Texas has 27,470 therapists for its population of 30,029,572, reflecting a substantial but proportionally lower density compared to California and Florida. New York reports 11,375 therapists for 19,677,151 people, suggesting a strong but perhaps more niche market within urban centers like New York City.

High Per Capita Density

Smaller states such as Hawaii (6,295 therapists for 1,440,196 people) and Oregon (7,078 therapists for 4,240,137 people) show a high concentration of therapists per capita, possibly due to a strong cultural emphasis on wellness and alternative health practices. Washington, D.C., despite its small size, has 570 therapists for a population of 1,018,396, reflecting a high per capita density, likely due to the affluent and health-conscious population.

Moderate to Low Concentrations

States like North Dakota (720 therapists for 779,261 people) and Wyoming (725 therapists for 581,381 people) exhibit lower absolute numbers but relatively high per capita densities due to their smaller populations. Midwestern states such as Ohio (10,474 therapists for 11,756,058 people) and Illinois (9,620 therapists for 12,582,032 people) display moderate concentrations, possibly reflecting balanced demand across urban and rural areas.

Massage Market Speculations

Economic and Cultural Factors

States with higher incomes and a greater emphasis on health and wellness, such as California and Florida, naturally show higher numbers of massage therapists. This trend suggests that economic prosperity and cultural values significantly influence the demand for massage therapy services.

Tourism and Retiree Influence

The high numbers in states like Florida and Hawaii might be driven by their strong tourism industries and large retiree populations, who are likely to seek massage therapy for relaxation and health maintenance.

Urban vs. Rural Dynamics

States with large urban populations, such as New York and California, exhibit higher numbers of therapists due to concentrated demand in cities where wellness services are more accessible and culturally ingrained.

Regulatory Environment

The regulatory environment of each state, including the ease of obtaining licensure and the presence of professional associations, may also impact the number of practicing therapists. States with more supportive regulations and professional networks may attract and sustain more practitioners.

Population Health Trends

States with higher rates of chronic conditions or a stronger focus on preventive health measures might see more massage therapists as part of a broader integrative health approach.

The Growing Popularity of Massage Therapy: National Trends Reflected in Local Revenue Growth

The data from a single business operating two locations in Kentucky reveals significant growth in revenue from 2018 to 2023. This increase mirrors the broader national trend of rising popularity and acceptance of massage therapy.

Revenue Growth

  • 2018 to 2019: The business saw a substantial revenue increase of nearly 98%. This significant jump likely reflects a growing awareness and demand for massage therapy services, possibly influenced by an increasing focus on wellness and self-care across the country.
  • 2019 to 2020: Despite the global pandemic, revenue experienced a slight decrease of about 1.4%. This minimal decline indicates resilience in the industry, where many health and wellness businesses faced significant challenges. The slight dip might reflect temporary closures or reduced client capacity due to health guidelines.
  • 2020 to 2021: Revenue surged again, with a robust increase of approximately 48%. This rebound suggests that as restrictions eased, the demand for massage therapy services quickly recovered, driven by people seeking stress relief and physical recovery after the challenging pandemic period.
  • 2021 to 2022: The upward trend continued with a growth of about 5%, indicating sustained demand and possibly an expansion in client base or service offerings. This steady growth aligns with a broader national trend of incorporating massage therapy into regular health and wellness routines.
  • 2022 to 2023: The business experienced another significant revenue increase of nearly 16%. This growth further captions the rising acceptance and integration of massage therapy into mainstream health practices.

Observations & Speculations

National Demand

The consistent revenue growth at this Kentucky business likely reflects a national increase in demand for massage therapy. As seen in the per capita distribution of massage therapists, states with higher populations and strong health cultures are driving this trend. The revenue growth in Kentucky could be indicative of similar trends in other states with robust health and wellness industries.

Post-Pandemic Recovery

The sharp increase from 2020 to 2021 suggests a strong recovery post-pandemic, with people prioritizing their health and seeking therapies for stress relief and physical well-being. This recovery is likely mirrored nationwide, as businesses and clients adapt to new health norms.

Economic Resilience

The minimal impact on revenue during the pandemic highlights the economic resilience of the massage therapy industry. This resilience could be attributed to the essential nature of health and wellness services, which maintained their relevance even during economic downturns.

Consumer Behavior

The steady growth in revenue also points to changing consumer behavior, where regular massage therapy is increasingly seen as an essential part of self-care and preventive health. This shift is likely influencing higher demand across various states, particularly those with more disposable income and health-conscious populations.

Market Expansion

The revenue trends suggest potential market expansion opportunities. As more people recognize the benefits of massage therapy, businesses can capitalize on this growing market by expanding their services, reaching new demographics, and promoting the health benefits of regular massages.

Monthly Trends in Average Sales per Customer in 2023

The data on average sales per customer for each month in 2023 provides insight into consumer spending patterns within the massage therapy industry. Analyzing these trends can help businesses understand seasonal variations and plan accordingly.

Overall Consistency

Throughout the year, the average sales per customer remain relatively stable, fluctuating between $108 and $117 for most months. This stability suggests a consistent demand for massage therapy services, with customers likely maintaining regular visits.

Seasonal Peaks

December sees a notable peak with average sales per customer rising to $131. This significant increase could be attributed to the holiday season, when people are more likely to indulge in luxury services or purchase gift certificates for massage therapy. The higher spending in December might also reflect holiday promotions and special packages that encourage clients to spend more.

Winter and Spring Trends

January and April show relatively high averages at $116 and $117, respectively. January’s high average may be influenced by New Year’s resolutions focusing on health and wellness, while April’s increase could be related to tax refunds or springtime self-care routines.

Summer Dip

The summer months (July and August) record the lowest average sales per customer, at $109 and $108, respectively. This dip might be due to clients allocating more of their disposable income to vacations and outdoor activities rather than wellness services. Additionally, the warmer weather might reduce the perceived need for therapeutic massage.

Recovery in Fall

The fall months (September to November) show a gradual recovery in average sales per customer, ranging from $111 to $112. This period could see clients returning to regular routines and prioritizing self-care as they prepare for the holiday season.

Business Implications

  • Strategic Promotions: Understanding these monthly trends allows businesses to plan strategic promotions and marketing campaigns. For instance, targeted promotions in the summer months could help mitigate the dip in average sales by attracting more clients with special deals or seasonal packages.
  • Holiday Planning: The significant increase in December suggests that businesses should prepare for higher demand during the holiday season. Offering gift certificates, holiday packages, and promotional events could capitalize on this trend and maximize revenue.
  • Client Engagement: To maintain consistency, businesses might consider loyalty programs or subscription models that encourage regular visits throughout the year, especially during the lower-spending summer months.
  • Resource Allocation: The data can also help in resource planning, ensuring that staffing and inventory levels are aligned with expected demand fluctuations. For example, businesses can plan for increased staffing in December to accommodate the holiday rush and adjust accordingly during slower periods.

Annual Trends in Massage Customer Spending & Revenue Growth

The data reveals a clear upward trend in both the average customer spend and overall revenue from 2018 to 2023. Analyzing these trends offers valuable insights into the business’s growth trajectory and customer behavior over time. The consistent rise in average customer spend from $78 in 2018 to $111 in 2023 reflects growing customer willingness to invest more in massage therapy services. This could be attributed to increased awareness of the health benefits of massage, enhanced service offerings, or successful upselling strategies within the business. Revenue growth is notably strong, especially between 2018 and 2019, where it more than doubled. The overall upward trend in revenue, culminating in a 256% increase in 2023, indicates a robust demand and effective business strategies.

Marketing and Customer Engagement

The substantial revenue growth highlights the effectiveness of marketing strategies and customer engagement efforts. Continued investment in targeted campaigns, social media presence, and customer relationship management could sustain and even accelerate this growth.

Expansion Opportunities

The consistent growth suggests there might be opportunities for geographical expansion or opening new locations. Analyzing regional demand and customer demographics could guide strategic decisions on where to expand next.

Focus on Customer Experience

Ensuring a high-quality customer experience will be crucial in maintaining the upward trend in average spend and revenue. Investing in staff training, facility upgrades, and incorporating customer feedback can help in delivering exceptional service that justifies higher spending.

Monthly Massage Sessions in 2018 vs. 2023

The comparison of monthly massage sessions given in 2018 and 2023 at the Kentucky business reveals significant growth and changes in client volume over the years. This data provides insights into business expansion, seasonality, and client engagement trends.

The number of massage sessions per month has increased substantially from 2018 to 2023, indicating strong business growth and increased client demand. This significant rise across all months suggests successful client acquisition and retention strategies. Both years show a similar pattern in seasonality, with peaks and troughs in similar months. For instance, sessions tend to dip during the summer months (July and August) and pick up again in the fall and winter. This trend could be attributed to clients’ vacation schedules and holiday preparations.

The most significant percentage increases are observed in the early months of the year, particularly January (312%) and February (242%). This sharp rise might reflect a surge in health and wellness resolutions at the start of the year, driving more clients to seek massage therapy services. March and May show substantial increases, with sessions nearly tripling in March and doubling in May. This sustained growth in traditionally busy months indicates that the business has effectively scaled its operations to meet higher demand periods. The growth in sessions could be the result of several strategic adaptations, such as expanded hours of operation, increased staffing, improved marketing efforts, and perhaps enhanced service offerings. These factors likely contributed to the ability to handle a higher client volume.

Monthly Increase:

  • January: 312%
  • February: 242%
  • March: 195%
  • April: 234%
  • May: 169%
  • June: 164%
  • July: 139%
  • August: 75%
  • September: 80%
  • October: 64%
  • November: 51%
  • December: 71%

Capacity Management Implications

With such significant growth in monthly sessions, businesses must ensure they have the capacity to meet demand without compromising service quality. This could involve hiring additional therapists, expanding facilities, or optimizing scheduling practices.

Marketing and Promotions

Understanding the seasonal trends allows businesses to plan targeted marketing campaigns and promotions during slower months to boost client engagement. For example, offering summer specials or discounts could help mitigate the dip in sessions during July and August.

Client Retention

The substantial growth in client volume underscores the importance of client retention strategies. Businesses should focus on maintaining high service standards, offering loyalty programs, and ensuring a personalized client experience to keep customers returning.

Service Diversification

To sustain and further increase client volume, businesses might consider diversifying their service offerings. This could include introducing new massage techniques, parallel services such as cupping, wellness packages, or complementary services such as aromatherapy.

Gender Dynamics In Massage Therapy

The data reveals significant gender disparities within the U.S. massage therapy industry, both in terms of employment demographics and income levels. Female massage therapists dominate the industry, constituting 88% of the workforce. This overwhelming majority suggests that the field is significantly more accessible or appealing to women, potentially due to societal norms that stereotype caregiving and wellness roles as predominantly female occupations.

The Wage Gap

On the financial side, there is a notable gender wage gap. Male massage therapists earn an average salary of $32,073, which is approximately 18% higher than their female counterparts, who earn an average of $27,212. This disparity might be influenced by several factors, including possibly differing levels of experience, specialties that may command higher wages, or even negotiation tactics and opportunities. It’s also conceivable that male therapists are more concentrated in higher-paying regions or within particular segments of the industry that offer better compensation.

The substantial representation of women in the industry combined with their lower average earnings raises questions about the valuation of work typically dominated by women and the economic implications for those reliant on massage therapy as their primary source of income. This scenario underscores the need for further research into the structural dynamics of pay within the field, as well as potential measures to address and correct wage discrepancies based on gender.

Facility Trends & Client Preferences

Here is a breakdown of where people typically receive massages, categorized by different types of facilities. This data allows us to analyze the distribution and preferences within the market.

Spas & Sanatoriums

Spas are one of the primary venues for massages, capturing a substantial portion of the market. This preference can be attributed to the comprehensive wellness environment spas offer, making them attractive to clients seeking relaxation and a variety of therapeutic services in one place. Additionally, many hotels, resorts, and cruises have spas that engage vacation-goers.

Athletic Settings

A significant number of massages are administered in athletic settings, highlighting the integration of massage therapy into broader health and wellness treatments. This setting likely appeals to clients seeking therapeutic relief from physical ailments and injury, where massages are part of a larger treatment plan involving post-training care.

Healthcare Settings

There’s also a notable percentage of massages given in healthcare settings, indicating the role of massage therapy in rehabilitation, physical therapy, and medical care. This suggests a growing recognition of massage as a viable complement to medical treatments.

Mobile Massage Services

Mobile services, while not the most prevalent, cater to a niche market that values convenience and personalized service. The flexibility of mobile massage allows therapists to reach clients who prefer receiving treatments at home or in private settings, which can be particularly appealing to those with busy schedules, limited mobility, or health concerns.

Market Speculations

The diversity in locations where massages are administered speaks to the versatility of the service and its integration into various aspects of health and wellness. The popularity of spas suggests that many people view massages as therapeutic and as an essential part of a luxury experience. The presence in chiropractic offices and healthcare settings indicates clinical recognition and integration into holistic health practices.

Future Trends

Given the different contexts in which massages are provided, the industry might see shifts depending on health trends, economic factors, and changing consumer preferences. For example, an increase in remote work and home-based lifestyles could boost demand for mobile massage services. Conversely, economic downturns might affect luxury spending, potentially decreasing massages at spa locations but possibly increasing them in health-focused settings as people look to manage stress and health proactively.


Parents As Clients

The data provided shows a clear division in the demographics of massage therapy clients, particularly concerning whether they are parents of young children. According to the statistics 36% of massage therapy clients are parents of children under 18 years of age. This demographic split can offer valuable insights into consumer behavior and the motivations behind seeking massage therapy. Parents of minor children represent a significant portion of the clientele, possibly reflecting the stress and physical demands associated with parenting. Massage therapy may be sought as a means of stress relief, managing physical strain, or simply as a brief respite from daily parenting duties.

The relatively lower percentage of clients without minor children could suggest that this group may have more discretionary time and potentially more flexibility in their schedules, yet they constitute a smaller market segment. This might be due to a lesser immediate need for stress relief compared to parents, or it could reflect different spending priorities or lifestyle choices that do not incorporate regular massage therapy.

The high proportion of parents among massage therapy clients could drive service providers to tailor their offerings to meet the needs of this demographic more effectively. For example, businesses might consider providing childcare services or family-friendly scheduling to accommodate the busy lives of parents. Promotions and marketing strategies could also be specifically designed to appeal to this group, emphasizing the benefits of stress relief and personal care.

Furthermore, the data suggests potential growth opportunities in increasing engagement with non-parents. Massage therapy businesses might explore why this demographic is underrepresented and adjust their services or marketing approaches to attract more clients without minor children. For instance, emphasizing the benefits of regular massage for preventative health care, sports recovery, or as part of a holistic wellness routine could resonate well with this group.

Income-Based Trends

The data concerning household income among massage therapy clients reveals three distinct income brackets:

  • Clients with Income Over $100,000: 43% of clients fall into this high-income category.
  • Clients Earning $50,000 – $100,000: This group represents 28% of the clientele.
  • Clients with Income Below $50,000: 18% of clients are in this lowest income bracket.

This distribution suggests a skew towards higher-income individuals making up the bulk of massage therapy clients, which could reflect several economic and social factors. Firstly, higher-income individuals are likely to have more disposable income, which affords them the luxury of investing in health and wellness services such as massage therapy. This demographic might view massage therapy as a leisure activity and as a necessary component of a holistic health regimen. Clients in the lowest income bracket are the least represented in the massage therapy market. Economic limitations are the most plausible reason for this distribution, as lower-income individuals may prioritize essential expenses over wellness services that they might view as luxury expenditures.

Given the current economic patterns, there could be several strategic movements within the massage therapy industry to attract and accommodate different income groups more effectively. For high-income clients, premium services, exclusive memberships, and upscale facilities could be marketed more aggressively to capitalize on their willingness and ability to pay for high-end, regular treatments.

For the middle-income group, creating more affordable packages or offering flexible payment plans might increase accessibility and frequency of visits. Marketing efforts could focus on the value of massage for maintaining health and managing stress, positioning it as an essential part of a balanced lifestyle rather than a luxury.

The underrepresented low-income group presents a challenge but also an opportunity for growth. Community-based programs, sliding scale fees, or special promotions might be effective in making massage therapy more accessible to this demographic. Partnerships with community health programs and insurance companies could be explored to subsidize costs, making these wellness services a feasible option for more individuals.

Why People Seek Massage Therapy

The data regarding the reasons why people seek massage therapy reveals diverse motivations that drive clients to utilize these services. Understanding these reasons is ideal for tailoring services and communication effectively to meet client needs.

The prevalence of stress relief and pain management as primary reasons for massage therapy shows the growing awareness and acceptance of massage as a therapeutic tool rather than merely a luxury. The focus on general wellness indicates a shift towards more holistic health approaches, where regular massages are part of a lifestyle choice aimed at maintaining overall health and preventing ailments. Given the strong demand for stress relief and pain management, there could be a significant opportunity for massage therapists and centers to specialize in these areas. Developing targeted therapies and promoting expertise in handling specific types of stress and pain could attract a larger client base.

Stress Relief

A significant number of massage customers report seeking massage therapy primarily for stress relief. This indicates that many individuals view massage as a viable solution for managing stress, which is prevalent in fast-paced modern lifestyles.

Pain Management

Another major reason people turn to massage therapy is for pain management. This includes chronic pain, injury recovery, and prevention of muscle tension, highlighting massage’s role in physical health and rehabilitation.

General Wellness

Many clients also cite general wellness and maintenance as a reason for regular massages. This suggests a proactive approach to health, where massage is used as a preventative measure to maintain body balance and prevent future health issues.

Luxury or Indulgence

A smaller, yet notable, portion of the clientele views massage as a form of luxury or indulgence. This group is likely influenced by the spa industry’s portrayal of massage as a pampering experience, aside from its health benefits.

Insights & Implications for the Massage Therapy Industry

The comprehensive analysis of the massage therapy industry outlined here provides valuable insights into the demographics, economic profiles, and motivations of clients, as well as the diverse settings in which services are offered. This information is helpful for anyone interested in understanding current trends and future directions in massage therapy. Keeping up with these insights can help practitioners, educators, and entrepreneurs alike to effectively meet the diverse needs of their clients and succeed in a dynamic market.