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[Massage Therapy Home][Holisticonline.com Home]

Benefits of Massage

Research in massage therapy has been ongoing for more than 120 years.

Here are some reported benefits of massage:
bulletMedical school students at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School who were massaged before an exam showed a significant decrease in anxiety and respiratory rates, as well as a significant increase in white blood cells and natural killer cell activity, suggesting a benefit to the immune system.
bulletPreliminary results suggested cancer patients had less pain and anxiety after receiving therapeutic massage at the James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio.
bulletWomen who had experienced the recent death of a child were less depressed after receiving therapeutic massage, according to preliminary results of a study at the University of South Carolina.

Studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found massage beneficial in improving weight gain in HIV-exposed infants and facilitating recovery in patients who underwent abdominal surgery. At the University of Miami School of Medicine's Touch Research Institute, researchers have found that massage is helpful in decreasing blood pressure in people with hypertension, alleviating pain in migraine sufferers and improving alertness and performance in office workers.

An increasing number of research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins (enhancing medical treatment). Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and, thus, partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. It also can hasten and lead to a more complete recovery from exercise or injury.

Research has verified that:
bulletOffice workers massaged regularly were more alert, performed better and were less stressed than those who weren't massaged.
bulletMassage therapy decreased the effects of anxiety, tension, depression, pain, and itching in burn patients.
bulletAbdominal surgery patients recovered more quickly after massage.
bulletPremature infants who were massaged gained more weight and fared better than those who weren't.
bulletAutistic children showed less erratic behavior after massage therapy.

According AMTA, massage helps both physically and mentally.

"Often times people are stressed in our culture. Stress-related disorders make up between 80-and-90 percent of the ailments that bring people to family-practice physicians. What they require is someone to listen, someone to touch them, someone to care. That does not exist in modern medicine.

One of the complaints heard frequently is that physicians don't touch their patients any more. Touch just isn't there. Years ago massage was a big part of nursing. There was so much care, so much touch, so much goodness conveyed through massage. Now nurses for the most part are as busy as physicians. They're writing charts, dealing with insurance notes, they're doing procedures and often there is no room for massage any more.

I believe massage therapy is absolutely key in the healing process not only in the hospital environment but because it relieves stress, it is obviously foundational in the healing process any time and anywhere."

Joan Borysenko - Massage Journal Interview, Fall 1999

Physical Benefits of Therapeutic Massage

bulletHelps relieve stress and aids relaxation
bulletHelps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
bulletAlleviates discomfort during pregnancy
bulletFosters faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments; reduces pain and swelling; reduces formation of excessive scar tissue
bulletReduces muscle spasms
bulletProvides greater joint flexibility and range of motion
bulletEnhances athletic performance; Treats injuries caused during sport or work
bulletPromotes deeper and easier breathing
bulletImproves circulation of blood and movement of lymph fluids
bulletReduces blood pressure
bulletHelps relieve tension-related headaches and effects of eye-strain
bulletEnhances the health and nourishment of skin
bulletImproves posture
bulletStrengthens the immune system
bulletTreats musculoskeletal problems
bulletRehabilitation post operative
bulletRehabilitation after injury

(Source: AMTA)

Mental Benefits of Massage Therapy

bulletFosters peace of mind
bulletPromotes a relaxed state of mental alertness
bulletHelps relieve mental stress
bulletImproves ability to monitor stress signals and respond appropriately
bulletEnhances capacity for calm thinking and creativity
bulletEmotional Benefits
bulletSatisfies needs for caring nurturing touch
bulletFosters a feeling of well-being
bulletReduces levels of anxiety
bulletCreates body awareness
bulletIncreases awareness of mind-body connection

(Source: AMTA)

Next Topic: What Types of Dysfunctions Respond To Clinical Massage?

Related Topic: Massage - Precautions/ Contra-Indications

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