"If it is a Miracle, any sort of evidence will answer,
but if it is a Fact, proof is necessary"
- Mark Twain
It's An Evidence-based Practice!
Massage Therapy has historically been a part of Healthcare, but somewhere along the way, a stigma developed and people's view of the field have changed since then. Today, with the advent of modern research, a growing body of evidence shows that massage therapy can be effective for a variety of health conditions, hence bringing it back to where it should always be - HEALTHCARE.
Here are 7 of the most recent findings on the benefits of massage therapy for health and medical reasons, compiled by the American Massage Therapy Association. (That's seven more reasons to get yourself a massage!):
1. Massage Therapy for the Pain of Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Research supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) showed that sixty minute sessions of Swedish massage once a week for those with osteoarthritis of the knee significantly reduced their pain. Each massage therapy session followed a specific protocol, including the nature of massage strokes. This is the latest published research study indicating the benefits of massage therapy for those with osteoarthritis of the knee. The study involved a total group of 125 subjects, with 25 receiving the 60-minute massage over 8 weeks, while others received less massage or usual care without massage. Previous studies on massage for the pain of osteoarthritis of the knee showed similar results, but were on a more limited number of subjects.
Perlman A, Ali A, Njike VY, et al. Massage therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized dose-finding trial. PLoS One. 2012; 7(2):e30248.
2. Massage Therapy for Inflammation After Exercise: Research through the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario indicates that massage therapy reduces inflammation of skeletal muscle acutely damaged through exercise. The study provides evidence for the benefits of massage therapy for those with musculoskeletal injuries and potentially for those with inflammatory disease, according to the lead author of the research. The study found evidence at the cellular level that massage therapy may affect inflammation in a way similar to anti-inflammatory medications. The researchers "found that massage activated the mechanotransduction signaling pathways focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), potentiated mitochondrial biogenesis signaling [nuclear peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α)], and mitigated the rise in nuclear factor κB (NFκB) (p65) nuclear accumulation caused by exercise-induced muscle trauma."
J. D. Crane, D. I. Ogborn, C. Cupido, S. Melov, A. Hubbard, J. M. Bourgeois, M. A. Tarnopolsky, Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signaling After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage. Sci. Transl. Med. 4, 119ra13 (2012
3. Massage Therapy for Chronic Low-Back Pain: Research released in July 2011 expanded on previous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of massage therapy for chronic low back pain. Researchers found that "patients receiving massage were twice as likely as those receiving usual care to report significant improvements in both their pain and function". The study was conducted over 10 weeks through Group Health Research Institute. Participants had a 60-minute massage once a week for 10 weeks. Massage patients also said they reduced the amount of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications they took. The study compared both relaxation massage and “structural massage” therapy and found no difference in the results from the type of massage given.
Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Kahn J, Wellman R, Cook AJ, Johnson E, Erro J, Delaney K, Deyo RA. A comparison of the effects of 2 types of massage and usual care on chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2011 Jul 5;155(1):1-9.
4. Massage Therapy for Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome characterized by generalized pain, joint rigidity, intense fatigue, sleep alterations, headache, spastic colon, cranio-mandibular dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. This study demonstrated that massage-myofascial release techniques improved pain and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. The study found reductions in sensitivity to pain at tender points in patients with fibromyalgia. Patients in the massage group received 90-minute massage for 20 weeks. Immediately after treatment and one month after the massage program, anxiety levels, quality of sleep, pain and quality of life were still improved.
Castro-Sánchez, A.M., Matarán-Peñarrocha, G.A., Granero-Molina, J., Aguilera-Manrique, G., Quesada-Rubio, J.M., Moreno-Lorenzo, C. (2011). Benefits of massage-myofascial release therapy on pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression, and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011:561753.
5. Massage Therapy for Improved Immune Function and Weight Gain in Preterm Infants: Research published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), showed that for stable, preterm infants, daily massage therapy is positively associated with higher natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity and weight gain. American Massage Therapy Association President, Cynthia Ribeiro, says of the study, "This research demonstrates that massage therapy can benefit preterm infants by enhancing immunity and stimulating growth. Parents of preterm infants are encouraged to speak with a certified massage therapist to learn more about certain techniques designed to aid in their child’s development."
Ang J, Lua J, Mathur A, et al. A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial of Massage Therapy on the Immune System of Preterm Infants. Pediatrics. 2012; 130(6):e1549-58.
6. Massage Therapy for Improvements in Balance, Neurological, and Cardiovascular Measures in Older Adults: Research published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (IJTMB) found that older adults who receive massage therapy for up to six weeks could benefit from decreased blood pressure and improved stability. "This study suggests that regular massage therapy can produce several advantages for the older generation, including a relaxation effect for the entire body, lowering blood pressure, decreasing stress and improving balance, amongst other things," says American Massage Therapy Association President, Cynthia Ribeiro.
Sefton JM, Yarar C, Berry JW, et al. Six weeks of massage therapy produces changes in balance, neurological and cardiovascular measures in older persons. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.2012; 5(3):28-40.
7. Massage Therapy for Decreasing Stress in Cancer Patients: Research published in BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care indicates that massage therapy can have a positive influence on the quality of life of people suffering serious illnesses such as brain cancer. The American Massage Therapy Association acknowledges these study results, which suggest that massage therapy can improve physical as well as emotional well-being in patients with late stage disease and when used in combination with standard care, massage can help reduce stress, anxiety, pain and fatigue.
Keir SM and Saling JR. Pilot study of the impact of massage therapy on sources and levels of distress in brain tumor patients. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. 2012; 2:363-36.
To view the complete details of these researches, you can visit AMTA's main website under their "Research" section. If you are interested to know more about AMTA, you are interested in becoming a member or you have any other further concerns, here are the contact details of the source of this post:
AMTA NJ Chapter
P.O. Box 4559
Toms River, NJ 08754
- Leo Feraer-Oporto