Low Back Pain
Chronic low back pain sufferers find enduring results from massage therapy, according to a study conducted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center & The Center for Health Studies. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine supported the idea that massage therapy produces better results for low back pain than other therapies, including acupuncture and spinal modification.
Research has shown that hypertensive patients who received three 10-minute back massages a week had a reduction in blood pressure, compared to patients who tried to increase relaxation without massage.
Research indicates that massage can help boost immune system strength by increasing the activity level of the body's natural "killer T cells", which fight off tumors and viruses.
Massage therapy benefits that are applicable to sufferers of any kind of pain include the stimulation of endorphin production in the brain and the encouragement of patient confidence in improving their condition.
A review of more than a dozen studies concluded that massage therapy helps relieve depression and anxiety by affecting the body's biochemistry. University of Miami School of Medicine researchers reviewed studies that measured the stress hormone cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage and found that the therapy lowered levels by up to 53%. Massage also increased serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that help reduce depression.
In a 2006 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, massage therapy recipients exhibited fewer migraines and better sleep quality than the control group. A 1998 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that massage therapy decreased the occurrence of headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms in adults with migraines.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A 2004 study by the University of Miami School of Medicine explored the effects of massage therapy on carpel tunnel syndrome. The study concluded that carpal tunnel patients receiving massage experienced, less pain, reduced symptoms and better grip strength than patients that did not receive massage.
Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center asked cancer patients about the severity of their symptoms before and after receiving massage therapy, and patients reported reduced levels of anxiety, pain, fatigue, depression and nausea.
Heart Bypass Surgery
In-patient massage treatment performed after heart bypass surgery helps reduce pain and muscle spasms, confirmed by a pilot study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Because of its effectiveness, 60% of the massage group in this study expressed a willingness to pay for massage therapy out-of-pocket.