In modern America, healthcare is big business. In fact, it is so big that it is estimated that America’s annual expenditure on healthcare is over 3 trillion dollars or $11,072 per capita. This expenditure dwarfs that of any other country, the nearest being Switzerland with an average expenditure of $8,000 per capita.
The sheer size of America’s healthcare system leads to huge diversity and specialization. For example, the American healthcare system encompasses specific areas, such as endocrinology, cardiology, and gastroenterology, all the way to your local GP, chemists, and therapists.
All of these combined make up the American healthcare system, and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The history of therapeutic massage
With the ever-increasing diversity of American healthcare and a general public shying away from invasive surgery, there has been rejuvenated interest in holistic therapy treatments, such as therapeutic massage.
Ironically, some have categorized therapeutic massage as a new type of treatment, but a little research shows that the exact opposite is true. There is evidence that therapeutic massage has been used as a healing therapy since 2,700 B.C. Corroborative evidence suggests many ancient civilizations relied on massage as their main form of therapy treatment.
From across Asia through the Indian subcontinent and onto Africa and ancient Europe, massage has been the predominant method of treating humankind’s painful ailments. In modern times, massage therapy was reintroduced at the beginning of the 19th century. Spearheading this introduction were the Swedish masseuses, and the Swedish massage remains the most popular form of massage even in present times.
Therapeutic massage in the United States is big business, so big that in 2005, the projected revenue was anywhere from $6 to $11 billion a year. In 2018, the projected annual revenue was a whopping $18 billion. In 2016, there were approximately 328,799 massage therapists in the United States. By 2019, it was estimated there were 334,219, representing a growth rate of 1.6%.
The good news for massage therapy does not end there. Surveys conducted over a one-year period (July 2018 to July 2019) showed that approximately 48 million adult Americans had a massage at least one time. Even with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,s number is expected to increase dramatically by 2024.
The different types of therapeutic massage.
The most recent form of massage, and arguably the most popular, is the Swedish massage, which was introduced to American society in the early 1900s. The Swedish technique uses less pressure and features a combination of short tapping strokes together with long, deep strokes. Swedish massage is used for relieving aches and pains. Studies have shown that it can even be used for the relief of lower back pain.
Another popular form of massage is the hot stone massage. This technique comprises the use of heated stones placed on various parts of the body. The hot stones heat up the body’s muscles, which relaxes them and allows greater blood flow, thereby helping in the reduction of stiffness and discomfort.
Arguably one of the most effective massage techniques for relieving pain is deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage is so named because it targets the deeper layers of muscle and the connective tissue. This technique involves applying finger pressure to the muscles (especially muscle knots), together with slow, firm strokes, for the connective tissue.
With the amount of money involved in modern-day sports, athletes are always looking for ways to increase performance and prolong their athletic careers. One of the most popular methods to do so is sports massage. It can help release the knots in your muscles to relax your body fully. Sports often involve repetitive exercise, resulting in the overuse of soft tissues, causing muscle damage or pain. Sports massage focuses on improving the health of soft tissues, thereby helping to both prevent and relieve injuries. It can also improve muscle performance and help correct imbalances.
The medical side
Physical therapists, naturopaths, and chiropractors use massage therapy extensively. Chiropractors, for example, can be found in all 50 states across America. Statistical analysis shows that there are over 70,000 registered chiropractic care providers in America. These chiropractors can be found as far afield as Rapid City, South Dakota, all the way to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This further signifies that the demand for massage therapy is high all over the country.
Massage, by definition, is “as old as human touch itself.“ Because its therapeutic benefits have been included in mainstream medicine, the industry is expected to grow and prosper. In fact, from the outside looking in, it would seem that the future of massage therapy is in excellent hands indeed.