Massage & Bodywork

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2019

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From 1998 to 2012, according to ABMP estimates, the massage therapist population grew 130 percent (from 137,390 to 316,056), but that steep growth curve has continued to flatten since then (Chart A). This trend lines up with ABMP research into massage schools and graduates (www.abmp.com/ updates/blog-posts/number-massage- program-graduates-continues-decline), which have declined from a peak in 2008. The overall population estimate does not exclude the estimated thousands of massage therapists that remain licensed but are not in practice, so the number of practicing massage therapists is certainly lower than our overall number of licensed therapists. That said, it is difficult to find a statistically meaningful measure to estimate that difference. One man's guess? Perhaps as many as 20 percent of the 334,219 aren't actively practicing, resulting in somewhere around 267,000 active practitioners. A natural follow-up question: If the number of massage therapists is relatively flat, what about demand for massage? ABMP's biennial consumer research survey into massage Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 81 By Les Sweeney, ABMP President

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