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Massage Therapy: A Key Step For Healing Spinal Cord Injuries

11 Nov 2013

A recently-conducted study brings exciting news to those suffering from spinal cord injuries as well as those seeking to use massage therapy to help victims of this condition. The following benefits were found among those participating in the study:

  • Increased range of motion
  • Improvement in muscle strength 
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Decrease in depression

The study was conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. There were ten participants in the study, equally divided among gender and averaging 39 years of age. Each participant had sustained a C5-C7 spinal cord injury for at least one year.

Those participating in the groundbreaking study were split into two groups: a group that had two massages of 40 minutes performed on them each week for a total of five weeks, and another group whose treatment differed quite dramatically: they performed an exercise routine twice a week for five weeks.

At the beginning and end of the study, a blind comparison was made between the two groups by a physiotherapist. The participants were assessed in the following areas:

  • Range of motion
  • Muscle strength
  • Self-care
  • Mobility skills

The results indicated that the massage group displayed a superior increase in muscle strength as measured by the Manual Muscle Test, which assesses motor function in those who have sustained spinal cord injuries.

Similarly encouraging news was found on the range of motion tests, which revealed improvement for both groups in shoulder abduction but greater improvement in flexion and wrist extension for the massage group. 

Levels of depression and anxiety were also measured on the first and last day of the study and the results of the massage groups showed consistently better improvement in these areas of concern. They had significantly lower levels of both anxiety and depression. According to the authors of the study, the increased muscle strength and range of motion may have played a role in decreasing depression and anxiety. 

At CenterPoint Massage & Shiatsu School & Clinic, our Minneapolis massage school, we are dedicated to providing excellent in training for massage and shiatsu therapists who desire to help those with spinal cord injuries as well as a vast array of other conditions. 


Call us today at 952-562-5200!