Breakthroughs in massage therapy research

Massage helps parent and infant bonding

A body of research indicates the benefits of infant massage for babies and parents, according to a recent article on in Massage Magazine.  Dr. Tiffany Field of the Touch Research Institute in Miami is cited as having conducted over 100 studies that support the positive effects of massage on babies, including providing relief for colds, earaches, colic and other issues.  Judith Koch, a massage instructor, with the Institute of Somatic Therapy who also was interviewed for the article, notes that the touch a baby receives in its first months of life up through year one can impact their brain development permanently.

For massage therapists, their primary role in infant massage is to teach parents how to massage their babies. Koch explains that when parents perform the massage there are benefits for both. Massage  enhances communication between the parent and infant and makes for a calmer baby. When parents massage their infants, they also become more aware of the child’s physical condition. Read more.


Chinese massage effective for chronic neck pain

Tuina (pronounced "twee naw” and means “pinch and pull”) has been found to be effective, safe and cost-effective for chronic neck pain compared to no treatment, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM). The study assessed intensity of neck pain, disability, health-related quality of life, medication use and cost.

Patients in the study, “Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Tuina for Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing Tuina with a No Intervention Waiting List,” were randomly assigned to either no treatment or six sessions of tuina over three weeks. The therapeutic approach involved manual manipulation of the soft tissue and backbone using mainly stroking, kneading and drumming techniques. Researchers found a clinically relevant decrease in mean neck pain intensity and improved function and quality of life among the group receiving tuina. Read More.


Light massage reduces pain, eases opiod dependency

A Swedish study found that light massage can reduce pain, anxiety and the need for opiod medication in terminally ill patients, Reuters reports.  Study co-author Linda Bjorkhem-Bergman told the news agency that she and her colleagues studied 41 patients hospice patients who received an average of three 15 to 45 minute treatments of light massage on their hands, feet or back during their stay.  From those treatments, patients’ perceived pain, well-being and anxiety decreased by approximately 2 points on a 10-point scale. Patients also requested just half their typical “rescue dose” medication in the 24 hours following the light touch therapy. Read more.