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National consumer research released today said 81% of American adults feel as stressed (45%) or more stressed (36%) now than they did a year ago and are using a variety of strategies to cope. The research was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research and sponsored by Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP).1
Despite the sour economy, the overall use of massage therapy remains consistent: 14% of adult Americans had a professional massage in 2008 compared to 12% in 2004 and 16% in 2006. Those who did not receive a massage in 2008 were more likely to cite their pocketbooks as the reason than in previous surveys.
Among those who had a professional massage in 2008, 58% said they did so for “relaxation, restoration or stress relief,” and 85% of 2008 massage users were satisfied with the experience, predicting they would seek massage again in 2009.
“When many people are curtailing spending on vacations and other big-ticket items, massage is an ideal and lower-cost option for reducing stress,” said ABMP president and nationally certified massage therapist Les Sweeney. “Massage therapy has been shown to reduce stress hormones, relieve anxiety and depression, strengthen the immune system and improve attentiveness, so it’s an excellent strategy for challenging times.”
The nation’s leading mental health association, Mental Health America, recommends massage therapy as a way to diffuse stress. Some employers are turning to workplace massage to help employees cope with uncertain times and increased workloads.