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Survey Data on Yoga and Coaching Practice, Plus More Info on Massage PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Survey Data on Yoga and Coaching Practices, Plus More Info on Massage

Summary: Two surveys were reported this month, one by the International Coach Federation on the coaching industry, demographics and income, and the other, by the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, on consumer use of massage. These are linked here to a study commissioned by the Yoga Journal on the growth of the Yoga industry. All three fields show substantial to explosive growth. The Integrator compares data on coaching incomes with what we see from surveys and statements related to massage therapists, acupuncturists and naturopathic doctors. The numbers aren't pretty for the professions that have entrance requirements which involve significant student loan debt ...
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1.   Yoga in America Study from Yoga Journal

Image These data were published two years ago, in February 2005.
The data are from the Yoga in America  study published by the Yoga Journal.

  • $2.95 billion a year is spent in the United States on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, vacations and media, including DVDs, videos, books and magazines.
  • 16.5 million U.S. adults practice yoga.
  • Practice in the 18-24 age group grew 46% in one year.
  • 77.1 percent of yoga practitioners are women.
  • 29.1% of practitioners are 18-34, 41.6% are 35-54.  
  • 7.5% of U.S. adults, or 16.5 million people, now practice yoga, an increase of 5.6% from the prior year and 43% from 2002.
  • 35.8%, of those practicing have studied yoga for under 1 year.
  • 44.7% of those practicing have studied more than 2 years.
  • 13% of non-practitioners expressed an intention to try Yoga in the next 12 months.               

Data were collected from a survey with 4700 respondent undertaken by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau (HISB) on behalf of Yoga Journal. This was the first thorough study to quantify the market. Yoga Journal's paid circulation was 325,000 at the time of the survey. The Integrator has published a series of articles related to the maturation of the more clinical subset of the field, Yoga therapists.


2.    The Coaching Industry: International Coach Federation


Image The International Coach Federation, based in Lexington, Kentucky, had 2100 members in 1999. By the end of 2006, the membership had soared to 11,000 with 200-400 joining each year. On February 6, 2007, ICF released data from a study on the global coaching industry. They found:

  • Approximate annual worldwide revenue produced by coaching is $1.5 billion (USD).
  • Coaches who responded earned an average of $50,510 (USD) per year.
  • Respondents who work full-time averaged $82,000, while part-timers averaged $26,000.
  • 69% percent of respondent coaches are female.
  • Average age among respondent coaches is 46-55 years old.
  • A typical respondent has coached for 5-10 years.
  • 53% of coaches have acquired an advanced level of education.
  • The majority of coaches maintain 11 active clients at any given time. 
  • Clients tend to be 56 percent female and 44 percent male.
  • Client age is between 38 and 45 years old.

The survey looked at 6000 coaches in 74 countries.
ICF defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential." ICF distinguishes its work "from therapy, consulting, mentoring or training." Those being coaches are expected to experience "fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles." ICF contracted through PriceWaterhouseCoopers. for the survey.


3.   More Data on the Use of Massage by the Public

Image The Integrator recently reported  on the 10th annual survey on massage use produced by the not-for-profit American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). On Valentine's Day, Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), a business which provides malpractice insurance, information and other services to massage practitioners, recently publicized outcomes of a similar survey. Headline findings include:

  • One-in-six (16%) of US citizens used massage last year.
  • The biggest jump was in use by men: 13% versus 8% in a 2004 survey.
  • Overall growth was from 12% to 16% in the two year period. 
  • Consumers liked the experience: 85% "voiced very favorable feelings" and 37% gave their experience a "perfect 10 out of 10" according to the ABMP release.
  • Gift certificates figured as the principal cause for getting a massage in 33% of use by women, and in 18% of men, and overall 28% average.

ABMP's release notes that
massage use fits into a broader sociological trend in the United States toward giving people gifts which are "experiential" rather than objects. The survey was carried out for ABMP by Boulder, Colorado-based Harstad Strategic Research. More information is available here .

Comment: The growth in all these professions is evidence of the burgeoning self-care movement - or if not self-care, precisely, at least care from people who cost less than most medical professionals.

These data must be sobering for some of the distinctly licensed natural healthcare providers. The incomes of the coaches in the ICF survey roughly parallel the findings on naturopathic income in the survey by the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) covered here in the Integrator. The NDs start out making as little as $20,000-$30,000 per year while more experienced NDs earn $80,000-$90,000.

While I could not find a report online of a comparable survey for acupuncturists, one college site suggests a starting income based on 20 patients a week at $50 each or $1000/week, a gross just under $50,000 for a net of probably $30,000-$40,000. One might anticipate that a college site, like the AANMC, would lean toward the favorable. This amount is close to the online survey on acupuncturists at Payscale.com which pegs salaries at $40,000-ish for those starting out.

How about massage income? I discovered the 2005 fact sheet on the massage industry in which AMTA calculated that the typical massage therapist sees 15 patients a week and earns roughly $30,000 per year. Notably, the same survey said that the average massage therapist only saw 39 patients a month. This is about 2/3 of what the 15 patients per week practitioner would see (15 X 4+ = 60+. Thus the projected annual income would be down by a third, to closer to $20,000.

The big difference, economically, between these practices, of course, is that those training to be acupuncturist and Oriental medicine specialists have  higher entrance barriers, in terms of both time and money. Instead of paying $3,000 to $15,000 and 1-2 years to enter a profession, tuition runs $45,000+ and 3 years for an acupuncturist and $100,000+ and 4 years for a naturopathic physician.

Coaching anyone?

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for inclusion in a future Your Comments article.


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