Massage therapy utilisation by Australian women: Prevalence and determinants.

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
J Bodyw Mov Ther, 2020, 24, (3), pp. 29-37
Issue Date:
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OBJECTIVES: Massage is a popular form of health care used among women, yet little is known about the characteristics of women who use massage therapy and the rationale for its use. This study reports the prevalence and characteristics of young and middle-aged Australian women who consulted a massage therapist. DESIGN: The study analysed data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health; a nationally-representative sample of Australian women. The data from 7,993 young, and 9,102 middle-aged women were included in the analyses and massage use was compared against measures of health status, health care utilisation, and demographics. RESULTS: Prevalence of consultation with a massage therapist in the previous 12 months was 42.4% in young women and 25.2% in middle-aged women. Women who consulted a massage therapist were more likely to consult other complementary medicine practitioners and/or use self-prescribed complementary medicine. Both young and middle-aged women were more likely to consult a massage therapist if they experienced musculoskeletal problems; however less likely, with chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension. CONCLUSION: Despite large numbers of young and middle-aged Australian women consulting a massage therapist, no Australian studies investigate the prevalence of massage consultations and report correlations with characteristics relevant to demographic, health status and health service data. Our findings highlight the need for further investigation of women's choices relevant to the use of massage therapy. Such research could shape the future of women's health care by providing insight into women's decision making around massage therapy, conventional treatment and healthcare utilisation.
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