Breakthroughs in massage therapy research


Massage therapy continues to find its way into new areas to treat both physical and mental health conditions.   In this post, we look at some of the new areas of massage therapy treatment and research studies reported round the Web.  We’ll continue to keep you posted about news in this important area on a regular basis.


Alternatives to drugs for pain treatment

In the New York Times article “Alternatives to Drugs for Treating Pain,” Jane E. Brody writes that a growing number of specialists are exploring noninvasive treatments for dealing with chronic pain. She notes that the American College of Physicians recently issued new nondrug guidelines for treating chronic or recurrent back pain, recommending a range of remedies, especially for those whose back pain improves over time regardless of the treatment.  Recommended treatments include superficial heat, massage, acupuncture or, in some cases, spinal manipulation.

Brody also points out that drug-free pain management is now a top priority among researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is a division of the National Institutes of Health.  Evidence from clinical trials indicates that complementary approaches may help some patients manage their pain, specifically citing the use of massage therapy with adequate doses and for short-term benefit in managing neck pain.  Read more


Massage Therapy and Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, immune-mediated, inflammatory disease. It leads to fatigue, pain, and spasticity, as well as other sensorimotor and cognitive changes. Often traditional medical approaches often are not effective alleviating these symptoms. A pilot study was conducted to measure the effects of massage therapy on fatigue, pain, spasticity, perception of health, and quality of life in people with MS. The study included 28 individuals of which 24 complete all the session and outcome assessments. That included standardized massage therapy routine once a week for six weeks.

The study concluded that massage therapy, as it was delivered in the study, helped to manage pain and fatigue in the participants. Decreasing fatigue and pain appears to correlate with improvement in quality of life. Read more

Massage and headaches

Massage is listed as one of the ways to beat a tension headache in “Seven all-natural ways to beat a headache,” an article written by Rachel Burge appearing on AOL.  Burge writes that research indicates that massage can reduce the frequency of headaches. She cites a study in participants with a history of migraines had a 45-minute weekly massage had fewer headaches than those who didn't receive the treatment. Read more.

Also in “Tackling Migraines Head-On,” which appeared on AMTA site, Katie M. Golden cites several studies on massage and migraines. In one, participants either received no massage or two 30-minute traditional massages for five weeks. The massage group reported a decrease in the frequency of migraine attacks compared to the control group. Read more.

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