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CAM Disciplines Data: Licensed NDs Double in 5 Years; Massage Use Doubles in 10 Years PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

CAM Disciplines Data: Licensed NDs Double in 5 Years; Massage Use Doubles in 10 Years

Summary: An academic study by some medical geographers shows the significant growth, nationally, of natural health care's smallest licensed profession, naturopathic medicine, plus state by state activity. And the American Massage Therapy Association takes advantage of its 10th year of consumer surveys to see how much consumer use of, and perspective about, massage has changed. A special focus on Generations X & Y.
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Image
Representing licensed NDs in the US
1.    Number of Naturopathic Licenses Doubles from 2001 to 2006

A workforce survey on the supply of naturopathic physicians found "impressive gains" in both the United States and Canada, between 2001 and 2006. In February of 2006, authors Donald Patrick Albert, PhD and Daniel Martinez replicated the methodology of researchers from the UCSF Center for Health Professions in 2001.
       
  2001   2006  
Total Jurisdictions
with Licensing
(CA and US)
 16  20  
 
Total Licenses

 2100  4010  
Selected
Jurisdictions


     
Washington
427
784
 
Connecticut
106
200
 
Ontario
329
639
 
Arizona
127
487
 
Oregon
410
668
 
California
no license
158
 
Utah
19
63
 
New Hampshire
19
38
 
Montana
41
60
 
Maine
10
22
 
       

The authors, who looked at both the US and Canada, found a 91% increase in licenses, from 2100 to 4010. They also noted a 25% increase in jurisdictions in which naturopathic physicians are licensed, reflecting new licenses in California, Kansas, Idaho and Washington, DC.

The three jurisdictions with the most NDs are Washington (784), Oregon (668) and Ontario (639). Each of these is home to one of the 5 ND programs recognized by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education.


The data is from a write-up published by the authors from their monograph entitled The Geography of Naturopathic Physicians in the United States: A Rising Profession (NY. Mellen press). Albert is a specialist in "medical geography" at Sam Houston State University.

Source: Complementary Health Practice Review; Vol 11, No, April 2006; 120-122. Sage Publications.

Image
Rerpesenting licensed NDs in Canada
CommentOf the 4010, over half (2091) held licenses in just 3 jurisdictions: Washington, Oregon and Ontario. If the other two such jurisdictions with schools are added, Arizona and Connecticut, then nearly 70% of the licenses are in just 5 jurisdictions. Their size is so small, relative to their presence and contributions, that I once suggested in a talk to the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians that instead of approaching their political strategy as a profession in its "whole form," focusing on growing a guild, better to view its role homeopathically. The mission then would be purely to stimulate the vital force of the community served. (Thanks to Pamela Snider, ND, for calling my attention to this study.)


2.    10th Annual AMTA Survey: Doubling of Consumer Use

Image
Sponsor of 10th annual survey
For the past 10 years, the American Massage Therapy Association has commissioned a consumer survey on massage use in the United States. The current year survey was conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation International on August 10-13, 2006, with a sample of 1013 adults (508 men, 505 women).

  `1997
2006 

Males

5.5%

12% 
 
Females

10%

23% 
 
Northeast US

9%

18%
 
North Central 

8%
 
19%
 
South region

7%

16%
 
West

11%

19%
     
The survey found that while a quarter used massage for relaxation, nearly a third used massage therapy for medical purposes. The survey found that "massage therapy's popularity is on the rise" for individuals 18-34  - Generations X and Y. The AMTA takes this evidence that the use of massage services is likely ot continue to have significant growth in the future.

Notably, 92% of the 18-34 age group believe massage can be beneficial to their health. Only 28% viewed massage as a luxury. For 18-34 years old, use of massage for pain relief was over three times more "popular" (34%) than use of medications (10%). Nearly the entire population of the Gen X-Y survey participants (98%) view massage as valuable for pain relief.

AMTA took advantage of the release of the data to promote massage's value as a healthcare tool. In a fact sheet sub-headed "More than Pampering," AMTA ticks off seven separate medical uses, with research references: relieve back pain, treat migraines, ease symptoms of carpal tunnel, reduce anxiety, and alleviate side effects of cancer and lower blood pressure. The AMTA release is available through a click here.

Comment: Credit the AMTA for continuing with this annual survey. The reports each year are not only useful internally but always a good media opportunity for this increasingly respected profession.

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