"This pilot study suggests that massage therapy is an intervention with potential to help patients deal with some of the more common problematic challenges, such as pain and anxiety," the researchers report. "If future studies confirm these preliminary findings, post-operative massage therapy may have a clinically significant role in helping patients recover optimally from surgery."
Authors: Liza Dion, Nancy Rodgers, Susanne M. Cutshall, Mary Ellen Cordes, Brent Bauer, Stephen D. Cassivi and Stephen Cha.
Sources: Department of Surgery, Department of Nursing, Division of General Internal Medicine, Division of General Thoracic Surgery, and Division of Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Originally published in International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, 4(2), 2-6.
Low Back Pain
Review of the evidence for the effectiveness, safety, and cost of acupuncture, massage therapy & spinal manipulation for back pain
The study showed that massage therapy was more effective and also more costeffective in the treatment of low back pain, than acupuncture or spinal manipulation. (Daniel C. Cherkin et al, Annals of Internal Medicine 2003, 138:898-906.)
The findings of this study can be of use to health care professionals as it shows that the relatively short period of massage can result in physical and emotional benefits for cancer patients (Billhult A, Dahlberg K, Cancer Nurs. 2001 Jun;24(3):180-4.)
Massage therapy and frequency of chronic tension headaches
The effect of massage therapy on chronic non-migraine headache showed the musclespecific massage therapy technique used in this study has the potential to be a functional, non-pharmaceutical drug intervention for reducing the incidence of chronic tension headache. (C Quinn, et al., A. AmJ Public Health. 2000 Oct,92(10):1657-61)
Appraisal of treatment of the trigger points associated with chronic headaches. Relationship with anxiety and stress adaptation strategies
Treatment by relaxation allows for a perceived increase in control of symptoms by the sufferer. Consequently, it reduces anxiety, improves the quality of life and the behavioral responses to stress. In turn, the treatment improves the long-term prognosis for the headaches as well as the health of the sufferer in general. (Goffaux-Dogniez C, et al., Encephale. 2003 Sep-Oct;29(5):377-90)
Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy
Twenty-six pregnant women were assigned to a massage therapy or a relaxation therapy group for 5 weeks. Only the massage therapy group reported reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep and less back pain by the last day of the study. In addition, urinary stress hormone levels decreased for the massage therapy group with fewer complications during labour and their infants had fewer postnatal complications. (Field T, et al., J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1999 Mar;20(1):31-8)
Massage therapy effects on pregnant women with depression
Eighty-four pregnant women with depression were recruited during the second trimester of pregnancy and randomly assigned to a massage therapy group, a progressive muscle relaxation group or a control group that received standard prenatal care alone. Immediately after the massage therapy sessions on the first and last days of the 16-week period the women reported lower levels of anxiety and depressed mood and less leg and back pain. The data suggest that depressed pregnant women and their offspring can benefit from massage therapy. (Field T, Diego MA, et. al., J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2004 Jun;25(2):115-22.)
Stress hormone is reduced by massage therapy
In this article the positive effects of massage therapy on biochemistry are reviewed including decreased levels of cortisol and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine. Research reviewed included studies on depression (including sex abuse and eating disorder studies), pain syndrome studies, research on auto-immune conditions (including asthma and chronic fatigue), immune studies (including HIV and breast cancer), and studies on the reduction of stress on the job, the stress of aging, and pregnancy stress. (Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schuanberg S, Kuhn C. Int. J Neurosci. Oct:115(10):1397-413).
Less pain, depression, anxiety and improved sleep with reduced lower back pain and range of motion
The massage therapy group, as compared to the relaxation group, suffering from low back pain, reported experiencing less pain, depression, anxiety and improved sleep. They also showed improved trunk and pain flexion performance, and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher. (Hernandez-Reif M, Field T, Krasnegor J, Theakston
H. Int. J Neurosci 2001: 106(3-4):131-45).
The mechanisms of massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery and injury prevention
Post-exercise massage has been shown to reduce the severity of muscle soreness but massage has no effects on muscle functional loss. The majority of research on psychological effects of massage has concluded that massage produces positive effects on recovery (psychological mechanisms). (Weerapong P., Hume PA., Kolt GS., Sports Med. 2005;35(3):235-56).
The effects of athletic massage on delayed onset muscle soreness, creatine kinase, and neutrophil count: a preliminary report
Two hours after exercise, massage subjects received a 30-minute athletic massage; control subjects rested. Delayed onset muscle soreness and CK were assessed before exercise and after exercise. The results of this study suggest that sports massage will reduce DOMS when administered 2 hours after the termination of exercise. (Smith LL, et al, J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1994 Feb;19(2):93-9.)
Patterns and perceptions of care for treatment of back and neck pain: results of a national survey
Chiropractic, massage, relaxation techniques, and other complementary methods all play an important role in the care of patients with back or neck pain. Treatment for back and neck pain was responsible for a large proportion of all complementary provider visits made in 1997. The frequent use and perceived helpfulness of commonly used complementary methods for these conditions warrant further investigation. (Wolsko PM., et al, Spine. 2003 Feb 1;28(3):292-7; discussion 298.)
Treatment of whiplash-associated disorders: Non-invasive interventions
Spinal joint mobilization techniques are recommended for the treatment of pain and compromised cervical range of motion in the acute Whiplash Associated Disorders patient. (Conlin A, Bhogal S, Sequeira K, Teasell R, Pain Res Manag 2005 Spring: 10(1):21-32.)
For the stressed and depressed
We all know from experience that massage can be incredibly relaxing. Not only does it relax your tense muscles, but it causes a generalized relaxation response. This response initiates various restorative processes in your body and counters the negative effects of stress.
It is interesting to note that despite making you more relaxed, massage will enhance your mental function. In a relaxed state your brain wave activity changes and your mind can actually process information more efficiently. In one study, employees' performance of math tests became faster and more accurate. With regular massage they were able to do computation tests in about half the time with about half as many errors.
Massage holds incredible promise for those suffering from depression.
Researchers have simple tools to measure depression. For this reason, it has been measured in most of the Touch Research Institute's studies. Remarkably, depression has decreased in every study where it has been measured. Massage has been shown to cause the release of hormones like serotonin, dopamine, as well as endorphins, all of which may play a role in fighting depression.
The power of massage
Studies from the Touch Research Institute have looked at people of all ages with a variety of health conditions and complaints. The range of benefits is remarkable. Here are some highlights from a few of the many published studies.
Labor pain: Massage during the first 15 minutes of each hour of labor decreased the mother's anxiety and pain. There was less need for medication and the length of labor was shortened.
Migraine headaches: Massage therapy decreased the occurrence of headaches along with sleep disturbances and distress symptoms.
Asthma: Children with mild to severe asthma who received regular massage were better able to exhale (a problem with asthma because the air passages constrict). In addition, the children suffered less stress and anxiety.
Premenstrual symptoms: After massage therapy there was improved mood and a decrease in anxiety. Pain and symptoms of water retention were also reduced.
Juvenile diabetes: After a month of regular massage, average blood sugar levels dropped into a normal range. The massaged children were also more likely to stick with their treatment regime.
Sexual abuse: Following massage, abuse survivors showed a reduced aversion to touch. They were less depressed, less anxious and had lower levels of stress hormones.
Bulimia: Bulimic teenagers received massage twice weekly for five weeks. The girls had an improved body image and felt less anxious and depressed. Results were similar for those with anorexia.
Pregnancy: Women who had massage through pregnancy showed decreased levels of stress hormones and experienced less anxiety. There were fewer complications before and after birth including fewer premature births.
POSITION STATEMENT PROPOSAL ON ANXIETY 32
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 40 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders.
Anxiety and its disorders shape the quality of life and the health of those individuals affected.2
Research indicates massage can reduce anxiety:
o in psychiatric patients3
o in those with chronic pain4
o for cancer patients
o for patients undergoing bone marrow transplants
o in children with illnesses
o in nurses
o associated with lower back pain
o in those with headaches
o in patients awaiting invasive cardiovascular procedures
o in healthy adults
o in patients with generalized anxiety disorder
o in patients under local anesthesia
o in stroke patients
o in the elderly
o in children and adolescent psychiatric patients
o in those at the end of life
o in adults with hand pain
o in patients with fibromyalgia
o in patients withdrawing from psychoactive drugs
o in burned adolescents
o in patients with congestive heart failure
o in women in labor
increase a sense of calm/reduce anxiety after surgery
reduce anxiety pre-surgery
reduce trait anxiety with a course of treatment providing benefits similar to psychotherapy
reduce the psychological and physiological anxiety levels in patients having cataract surgery
increase neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety
decrease hormones associated with increasing anxiety
Research shows that both the psychological and physiological symptoms of those suffering from anxiety (in a variety of populations, instances and age groups) may be reduced by incorporating massage into treatment and care. Therefore, individuals who seek relief from anxiety can benefit from massage therapy given by professional massage therapists working within their scope of practice.