Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Benefit Findings

Here are some interesting findings about the benefits of massage therapy (taken from Massage Today) :
  • A 1986 Touch Research Institute study at the University of Miami showed pre-term babies who received massage therapy had 47 percent greater weight gain and six-day-shorter hospital stays than infants not receiving massage.
  • Oncology patients show less pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety and depression following massage therapy, according to a study by Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2004, and a report in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2002.
  • Massage therapy reduced chronic back pain in relation to other complementary techniques, according to a 2000 report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
  • Research has shown massage reduces symptoms from carpal tunnel syndrome. The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 2004.
  • Massage therapy has been shown to strengthen the immune system, according to research published in the Journal of Neuroscience, 1996, and Psychosomatic Medicine, 2000.
  • The Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery reported in 2004 that stroke patients showed less anxiety and lower blood pressure when massage therapy was used.
  • The American Journal of Public Health reported in 2002 that massage therapy reduced the frequency of headaches.
  • Massage therapy is effective is reducing post-surgical pain, according to Pain Management Nursing, 2004.
  • Alcohol-withdrawal symptoms were lessened in connection with massage therapy, according to The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2005.
  • A study by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami showed less stress and improved performance for a small sample of employees (against a control group), who had twice-weekly, 15-minute massages in the office.
  • Distress during burn treatment was reduced in children in connection with massage therapy, according to a 2001 article in the Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation.
  • The Journal of Gerontological Nursing reported in 1999 that Alzheimer’s patients showed reduced pacing, irritability and restlessness after neck and shoulder massages.
  • Fibromyalgia patients receiving 30-minute massages had less pain, depression, anxiety, stiffness, fatigue and sleep problems, according to a 1996 Journal of Clinical Rheumatology report.

While noting that more research is needed, the Mayo Clinic website suggests massage therapy benefits the following conditions:

  • Anxiety. Massage reduced anxiety in depressed children and anorexic women. It also reduced anxiety and withdrawal symptoms in adults trying to quit smoking.
  • Immune system. People with HIV who participated in massage studies showed an increased number of natural killer cells, which are thought to defend the body from viral and cancer cells.
  • Juvenile diabetes. Children who were massaged every day by their parents were more likely to stick to their medication and diet regimens, which helped reduce their blood glucose levels.
  • Labor pain. Massage during labor appears to reduce stress and anxiety, relax muscles and help block pain. Some medical professionals believe it also reduces tearing, shortens labor, reduces the need for medication and shortens hospital stays.
  • Pain. Pain was decreased in studies of people with fibromyalgia, migraines and recent surgeries. (Also supported by a 2005 Consumer Reports readership survey in which deep-tissue massage was voted an effective treatment for back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.)
  • Self-esteem. Direct touch is thought to boost the self-esteem of people with physical disabilities and terminal illnesses, as well as providing reassurance to children with pronounced physical disabilities.
  • Sports-related soreness. Massage may reduce muscle soreness through increased blood flow to muscles.

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