Massage research has been increasing in recent years. Thanks to scientific curiosity and rigorous studies, we’re constantly learning new things about massage and its many health benefits. And the studies and research keep coming. Here’s a review of recent research on massage therapy and its benefits:
- Thai Massage Can Reduce the Severity of Tension Headaches. This study looked at 60 people between ages 18 and 65 who had been diagnosed with chronic tension headaches. They were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group received thai massage twice a week for four weeks. The second group was prescribed 25 milligrams of amitriptyline to be taken once a day before bed for four weeks. Pain level decreased for both groups at the two and four week marks, as well as at an assessment at six weeks. However, the pain level was lower for the group receiving Thai massage at every check.
- Massage Therapy Increases Lymphocytes. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai studied the effects of Swedish massage on adolescents diagnosed with HIV. Those who received massage therapy showed increased counts of white blood cells, which fight virus-infected cells. In addition, a randomized study of women with Stage 1 and 2 breast cancer found that massage therapy enhanced dopamine and serotonin, as well as increased white blood cell counts.
- Postoperative Massage Improved Perceived Pain of Patients Undergoing Colorectal Surgery. 127 patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group received a 20-minute massage 2 and 3 days post-op. The second group received a 20-minute social visit and relaxation session 2 and 3 days post-op. Vital signs and psychological well-being were assessed. Results showed that post-op massage improved patients’ perception of anxiety, pain, and tension.
Massage Research: Resources
If you’re interested in reading and learning more about massage research, several resources are available, including:
- Massage Magazine features research and studies.
- American Massage Therapy Association has an online Research Roundup.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health page on Massage Therapy Research.
If you’re a massage practitioner, sometimes it’s easy to fall into a trap of making general statements about how massage is good for you. These resources provide reliable information that are a great resource if you’re looking for specific studies.
Do you have a favorite source that you trust to give you the latest scientific research on massage? Let us know.