How Many Massage Therapists Are in the US?

Massage Therapists in US in 2023

A 2023 Update

By Les Sweeney, President, ABMP

Every few years, ABMP undertakes a process to query state massage therapy boards in order to prepare a massage therapist population estimate. Based on the work conducted for our 2023 process, ABMP estimates the number of massage therapists in the United States at approximately 321,493, which is down from the height of 2019’s estimate of 334,221. (Read the 2019 estimate.)

Since we began the process in 1998, this is the first estimate where the therapist population has not grown. The time period between 2019 and 2023 obviously covers the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the associated negative outcomes and challenges during that time that have affected the world at large—and the massage therapist community specifically—undoubtedly contributed to the nearly 4 percent drop in overall population.

As we all emerge from the COVID-19 emergency, the recovery in the massage profession continues on, and we see different results in different states. Twenty-eight states reported a decline in the number of massage therapists since 2019, and 23 reported an increase (Washington, D.C., is included in the estimate). ABMP’s 2023 survey of massage school enrollment suggests that the number of graduates in 2022 exceeds the number in 2020, and is more on par with our 2018 survey. (We will soon publish that data in an update to “Massage Schools Stay Resilient During COVID-19 Pandemic.”1 )

Surveys of our ABMP membership indicate that session pricing is on the rise, with an average rate of $87 for a 60-minute session, nearly half of respondents indicating they raised their prices in the past year, and 1 in 3 respondents planning to raise their prices in the next year.2 From that group, only 4 in 10 respondents said they had openings for new clients. Taken together with the fact that franchise and spa businesses are in constant need to hire more massage therapists to meet demand, and it is safe to say the demand is there to meet an increased number of massage therapists.

Though the overall population has declined slightly, one thing has remained constant—massage therapists report they love their profession. In a recent internal member survey, when asked how satisfied they were with their career, members gave an average score of 8.3 out of 10. The top reason for that satisfaction, shared by 80 percent—helping people. On that note, I’ll leave you with this article from my friend and former colleague Cindy Williams, “Eight Reasons Why I Love Being a Massage Therapist.”

Abbv

2023 Massage Therapist
Population Estimate
State Population Per Capita Estimate

AK

1,079

733,583

680

AL

2,063 5,074,296 2,459

AR

1,861 3,045,637 1,637

AZ

11,000 7,359,197 669

CA

50,247 39,029,342 777

CO

10,955 5,839,926 533

CT

4,142 3,626,205 875

DC

570 1,018,396 1,787

DE

1,280 671,803 525

FL

38,189 22,244,823 582

GA

5,851 10,912,876 1,865

HI

6,295 1,440,196 229

IA

3,037 3,200,517 1,054

ID

1,386 1,939,033 1,399

IL

9,620 12,582,032 1,308

IN

3,995 6,833,037 1,710

KS

1,565 2,937,150 1,877

KY

2,304 4,512,310 1,959

LA

2,250 4,590,241 2,040

MA

7,287 6,981,974 958

MD

1,995 6,164,660 3,090

ME

2,492 1,385,340 556

MI

8,286 10,034,113 1,211

MN

5,100 5,717,184 1,121

MO

4,212 6,177,957 1,467

MS

911 2,940,057 3,227

MT

1,760 1,122,867 638

NC

8,807 10,698,973 1,215

ND

720 779,261 1,082

NE

1,432 1,967,923 1,375

NH

1,680 1,395,231 830

NJ

5,725 9,261,699 1,618

NM

2,316 2,113,344 912

NV

4,807 3,177,772 661

NY

11,375 19,677,151 1,730

OH

10,474 11,756,058 1,122

OK

1,798 4,019,800 2,236

OR

7,078 4,240,137 599

PA

7,881 12,972,008 1,646

RI

1,070 1,093,734 1,022

SC

3,225 5,282,634 1,638

SD

835 909,824 1,089

TN

4,330 7,051,339 1,628

TX

27,470 30,029,572 1,093

UT

7,172 3,380,800 471

VA

7,469 8,683,619 1,163

VT

1,144 647,064 566

WA

10,903 7,785,786 714

WI

2,297 5,892,539 2,565

WV

1,028 1,775,156 1,727

WY

725 581,381 802

Sum/Average

321,493 333,287,557 1,289

Methodology

To determine the number of US massage therapists, ABMP requests the number of active licensees from each state massage therapy board and accesses official records where available. We then use the data from those lists to produce a final number for each state that excludes dual-licensed therapists who practice in multiple states, which reduces the overall number by about 7 percent. In unregulated states and states where we are unable to gather information, we estimate based on similar states, information about ABMP membership, and other available professional data. 

Notes

1. Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, “Massage Schools Stay Resilient During COVID-19 Pandemic,” April 21, 2021.

2. Jed Heneberry, “ABMP Member Survey: Massage Session Pricing,” Massage & Bodywork 38, no. 2 (March/April 2023): 11.

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