Not sure massage can help with your condition?
Read this excerpt from the American Massage Therapy Association research roundup pages:
Clinical research has shown that massage therapy has benefits for many serious medical conditions. It alleviates pain and aids in the healing process.
Massage has been found to be especially effective for patients with these conditions:
- Low Back Pain
- Breast Cancer
- Other Kinds of Cancer
- Heart Bypass Surgery
- Carpal Tunnel
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Other Conditions
Chronic low back pain sufferers find enduring results from massage therapy, according to a study conducted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Center for Health Studies. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine supported the idea that massage therapy produces better results for low back pain than other therapies, including acupuncture and spinal modification.
Massage promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety in patients with varying kinds of cancer, and has proven especially effective for breast cancer survivors. Research shows therapeutic massage is an effective complement to traditional medical care for women undergoing lumpectomy, mastectomy or breast reconstruction.
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center asked cancer patients about the severity of their symptoms before and after receiving massage therapy, and patients reported reduced levels of anxiety, pain, fatigue, depression and nausea.
In-patient massage treatment performed after heart bypass surgery helps reduce pain and muscle spasms, confirmed by a pilot study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
A review of more than a dozen studies concluded that massage therapy helps relieve depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry. Researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine reviewed studies that measured the stress hormone cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage and found that the therapy lowered levels by up to 53 percent. Massage also increased serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that help reduce depression.
In a 2006 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, massage therapy recipients exhibited fewer migraines and better sleep quality than the control group. A 1998 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that massage therapy decreased the occurrence of headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms in adults with migraines.
A 2004 study by the University of Miami School of Medicine explored the effects of massage therapy on carpel tunnel syndrome. The study concluded that carpal tunnel patients receiving massage experienced less pain, reduced symptoms and better grip strength than patients that did not receive massage.
Research has shown that hypertensive patients who received three 10-minute back massages a week had a reduction in blood pressure, compared to patients who tried to increase relaxation without massage.
Research indicates that massage can help boost immune system strength by increasing the activity level of the body’s natural "killer T cells,” which fight off tumors and viruses.
Massage therapy benefits that are applicable to sufferers of any kind of pain include the stimulation of endorphin production in the brain and the encouragement of patient confidence in improving their condition.
As with any medical treatment, patients should consult with their doctors before adding massage to their pain management programs.