Massage Therapy: Article Notes

A meta-Analysis of Massage Therapy Research

Authors: Christopher A. Moyer, James Rounds and James W. Hannum

· Massage therapy is gaining popularity in the alternative medical community for it’s remarkable health benefits

· The health benefits after one session include:

1. Reduction in anxiety > feelings of relaxation

2. Reduction in depression > feelings of wellbeing

3. Reduction in blood pressure

4. Reduction in heart rate

5. Reduction in physical pain

6. Reduction in cortosol levels

7. After multiple sessions the longer-term psychological and physiological benefits include:

8. Increase in serotonin levels

9. Reduction in cortosol levels

10. Reduction in blood pressure

11. Reduction in heart rate

12. Reduction in physical pain

13. Improved circulation

14. Continued feelings of relaxation

15. Continued feelings of well-being

16. Deeper sleep with less frequent interruptions

17. Increase in immune functioning

18. Release of endorphins into the bloodstream

19. Decrease in cortisol levels — leading to parasympathetic response in the Autonomic Nervous System

20. Shift in the autonomic nervous system from a state of sympathetic (alert) response to parasympathetic (relaxed) response >

[this in turn causes a reduction in cardiovascular activity as well as stress hormones and enhances feelings of tranquility and well-being]

21. The break up of adhesions can prevent fibrosis

· Massage therapy is an effective treatment for symptoms that go along with:

1. Pregnancy

2. Labor

3. Burns

4. Postoperative pain

5. Beginning rheumatoid arthritis

6. Fibromyalgia

7. Back pain

8. Migraine headache

9. Multiple sclerosis

10. Spinal chord injury

11. Autism

12. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

13. Post-traumatic stress disorder

14. Eating disorders, chronic fatigue

15. Diabetes

16. Asthma

17. HIV

18. Breast cancer


· Massage therapy was first recorded in 2000 B.C.

· It was part of the following ancient cultures:

1. Chinese

2. Egyptian

3. Greeks

4. Hindus

5. Japanese

6. Romans

· It was considered a traditional medical practice — now viewed to be more alternative

· The article defines massage therapy as: “a manual manipulation of soft tissue intended to promote health and wellbeing” (page 3)

· In Western cultures, the relationship between massage and medicine disappeared as Greco-Roman traditions were forgotten

· However, it still continued as folk treatment during the middle ages

· In the 19th century a Swedish practitioner with the name of Pur Henrik Ling developed Swedish Massage therapy which helped massage become re-integrated in the medical community

· Massage therapy is now one of the fastest growing practices in the alternative medical therapy movement

· Visits to massage therapists increased %36 between 1990 and 1997

· Consumers now spend between $4 and $8 billion annually for massage therapy

· Massage therapy is partially becoming more popular due to greater knowledge of the consequences of stress on health

· The goal for the future is to make massage therapy more accessible to people by:

1. Offering it in places such as: hospitals, nursing homes, psychological treatment facilities, sports performance clinics, and workplaces

2. Gaining support from insurance carriers and health maintenance organizations

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