What Does Scientific Research Say About Massage Therapy???
In March of 2016, an article was published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice Elsevier Journal focusing on massage therapy. This article summarized some significant research studies examining massage therapy and its effects on a variety of conditions. Some of the conditions addressed included skin conditions, pain syndromes, blood pressure and hypertension, auto-immune conditions, immune disorders, and breast cancer. This review covered the effects of massage therapy on specific populations such as prematurity, preterm infants, and full term infants. So of the results from these studies are described below:
Massage therapy has been used to reduce several skin problems including cleft-lip scars, burn scars, and post-surgery scars. Studies show that following a five-week treatment, the research reports increased range of motion, strength, and symmetry in patients with cleft-lip. In the study on burn scars, the massage group showed decreased pain, pruritus and scar tissue following the massage therapy treatment period. The data is consistent when conducted on children and adults. Data also concluded a decrease in anxiety and cortisol levels prior to skin brushing along with a decrease in pain and depression. When it comes to surgical scars, of the 30 surgical scars treated with massage therapy, 90% had improved appearance.
Many studies have been conducted on massage therapy effects on various pain management issues because most massage therapy clients are receiving or have receive therapy for pain syndromes. Twenty randomized controlled trials have been conducted on pain syndromes ranging from labor pain to low pain pain.One study was conducting assessing the effect of massage on exertion-induced muscle injury (weight lifting or leg press) and results revealed that muscles soreness was significantly reduced in the massage group. When it comes to labor pain management and massage, data showed lower pain and anxiety levels as well as shorter duration of labor when patients received thirty minutes of massage at each stage of labor. At the end of the massage treatment period with foot pain, there was a lower pain level as well as reported greater functional status. In the study examining knee arthritis pain, decrease in pain was discovered in the patients that received massage therapy. Even with self administered massage for their hand and upper limb pain, adults that experienced greater grip strength and decrease in hand pain, depressed mood and sleep disturbance. Several studies on back pain and massage therapy have been conducted due to increasingly common occurrences. Data analysis reveals massage therapy decreases back pain, increases trunk flexion as well as lowering self-reported depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances. Massage therapy has been beneficial for those with Fibromyalgia as well. Trials including different massage modalities showed decrease in pain, anxiety, fatigue and sleep disturbances as well as an increase in restorative or deep sleep.
Blood Pressure and hypertension:
Many studies have been conducted on the effects of massage therapy on blood pressure in various situations. In a coronary care setting, full body massage was given to patients and results showed a decrease in both systolic and diastole blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, cortisol levels, and anxiety. A group of pre-hypertensive women received 10-15 minute of massage bodywork exclusive to the neck, face, shoulders and chest three times a week for ten sessions. Results showed a deceased in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. These results were true for patients that were hypertensive as well.
Auto -immune conditions and disorders such as Asthma, Multiple Sclerosis, and even certain cancers have been said to be positivity effected with massage therapy. In a study conducted on children with asthma, results showed a significant improvement in the FEV1/FVC ratio. When it comes to Multiple sclerosis, massage therapy has said to increase the patients quality of life. When combined with exercise, results showed a reduction in pain and improvements in balance. In a study examining childhood cancer and the effects of massage, they found a reduction in pain and anxiety levels as well as less nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. In breast cancer patients. massage therapy lead to reduced depression and increased dopamine and serotonin as well as natural killer cell number and lymphocytes.
Massage Therapy is an effective tool for managing a variety of issues such as:
- Decreased anxiety.
- Enhanced sleep quality.
- Greater energy.
- Improved concentration.
- Increased circulation.
- Reduced fatigue.
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
- Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
- Ease medication dependence.
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body's natural defense system.
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
- Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
- Improve the condition of the body's largest organ—the skin.
- Increase joint flexibility.
- Lessen depression and anxiety.
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
- Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
- Reduce spasms and cramping.
- Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
- Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller.
- Relieve migraine pain.