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Massage Therapy Studies Are Big News These Days: National Public Radio, LA Times & New York Times Cover Results

09 Aug 2012

Studies are done on massage on an ongoing basis; it’s easy to read the results and know the findings. Why? Because massage therapists, bodywork professionals, and therapeutic massage therapists know that massage they perform does make differences in the lives of their clients. What is amazing is that while studies are often cited in the massage magazines, they rarely get the type of high-level coverage they have this year in general-interest major media.

One study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center showed results from just one massage. It documented changes in white blood cell activity as well as neurotransmitter, and hormonal secretions. They found that deeper massage increased the number of circulating lymphocytes and changed the prevalence of certain cytokines, as compared to light stroking which led to an increase in oxytocin. Oxytocin is the “contentment” neurotransmitter.  The light stroking massage was the control intervention for the study.

The other study came from Group Health, who created a study to see if they could find a difference between back pain sufferers who got massage and those who did not. Their three patient groups were: diagnosed low back pain, nonspecific low back pain, and uncomplicated low-back pain. Their treatment was: usual care, relaxation massage, or a structural massage protocol designed by low back pain experts. They recruited 401 members of their large group health plan with an average age of 46, two-thirds of them women, and randomly assigned them to one of three treatment groups. The relaxation massage offered a generalized sense of relaxation to ease low back pain. The structural massage focused on specific musculoskeletal contributors to pain. The third group didn’t receive any massage.  It is interesting to note that a large health care provider such as Group Health is investigating the benefits of therapeutic massage for pain management.

Join us and other bodywork professionals at our MN massage therapy school to learn the types and massage therapy that make a difference in dealing with pain, call 952-562-5200.

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