Research on the Benefits of Massage Thereapy

In a national survey of adult consumers by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC), almost 30 percent said that medical reasons would motivate them to get a massage. Medical reasons given include: for muscle soreness/ stiffness/spasm (10 percent); to reduce pain (6 percent); for injury recovery and rehab (4 percent); for wellness and prevention (2 percent); for greater joint flexibility or range of motion (2 percent); or because of a medical prescription or physician recommendation (2 percent). According to NCBTMB, 36% of the people who received massage received the massage for rehabilitation from an injury (part of an on-going medical treatment).

Americans are turning to massage therapy for relief from injuries and certain chronic and acute conditions, to help them deal with the stresses of daily life, and to maintain good health. There is mounting evidence that massage lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins.

Benefits of Massage

Preliminary findings of the benefits of spa treatments—even if they don't meet the requirements of validity and reliability—have potential importance in validating and expanding the therapeutic uses of massage. These anecdotal studies suggest that massage may have health benefits, but they need to be replicated because of the small sample size and lack of a control group. Additionally, it would be important to clearly distinguish cumulative effects from those from a single treatment and to demonstrate long-term effects, if any, on immunity and subsequent health status.

Studies exist claiming that therapeutic massage has lessened or relieved many of the following illnesses and symptoms:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic and acute pain
  • Circulatory problems
  • Edema
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Headache
  • Immune function disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Sports injuries
  • Stress

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