Massage Therapy News and Research

Massage Helps Ease Arthritis Pain and Improve Mobility

Duke University researchers found that patients with arthritis in their knees experienced significant improvement in pain and mobility after undergoing a weekly, whole-body massage for two months. According to Duke Health's announcement, the finding, which appears online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, suggests that massage could offer a safe and effective complement to the management of knee osteoarthritis, at least in the short term.

The research included 200 patients with osteoarthritis in their knees who were randomly divided into three groups. One group received a one-hour, weekly Swedish massage for eight weeks. Another group received a light-touch control treatment. The final group received no extra care other than their usual regimen. After eight weeks, each group again was randomized to continue with massage or light-touch every other week or to receive no treatment for the remainder of the study, which spanned 52 weeks.

The patients were assessed every two months. At eight weeks, massage significantly improved patients’ scores on the questionnaire, which assessed pain, stiffness, and functional limitations, compared to light-touch and usual care. Massage improved pain, stiffness, and physical function.

At 52 weeks, the twice-monthly massages maintained the improvements that were observed at eight weeks. However, the massages did not provide an additional benefit.  The study also found that there were no significant differences between the groups at 52 weeks.

Researchers concluded that “medical practitioners treating patients newly diagnosed with osteoarthritis may want to recommend a course of massage therapy as the initial treatment plan, followed by a continued use of pain medications or other standard therapies to maintain the benefits sustained from the massage therapy.” Read more.


Cancer Patients Offered Massages at Western Michigan Hospital

Cancer patients at Mercy Hospital in Wet Michigan can now take advantage of oncology massages. The service is offered free on an outpatient basis.  Licensed therapists are trained to use traditional massage therapy techniques while adapting to chemo and radiation side effects. The massage is expected to help patients reduce stress, increase sleep, promote relaxation, and minimize pain.  Read more


Care2 Recommends Massage Therapy for Back Pain Relief

Care2 Healthy Living is promoting massage therapy as a way to relieve back pain.  The site described “the world’s largest community for good,” advises followers in “5 Overlooked Ways to Relieve Back Pain” that “…weekly massage therapy can help people with chronic back pain improve mobility and decrease reliance on anti-inflammatory medications.

In one study, two types of massage therapy — structural massage and relaxation massage — were found to improve symptoms more quickly than usual medical care. Patients who want to get back on their feet as soon as possible could benefit from massage in addition to other forms of treatment, such as physical therapy and exercise, laser therapy, yoga, and posture improvement, Care2 says.  Read more.

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