Massage Therapy: Research Shows that You Help People Feel Better

As a massage therapist, you know the many benefits of a good massage. From rehabilitation to relaxation, you see the positive impact of massage every day. Massage is used to help loosen stiff muscles, improve circulation, and relieve pain. Massage also benefits an individual’s overall mental health and well-being. In fact, relaxation and relief from stress is the second leading reason people seek out massage.


As the use of massage for medical and wellness support grows, researchers from all over the world have taken a closer look at the benefits of massage therapy. We’ve summarized a few of the most recent findings below.


Pain Relief, Stress Reduction, and Better Sleep
Human touch is healing. Your massage therapy services play an integral role in the health of your patients. You can help your clients manage pain, reduce anxiety and improve sleep with massage therapy.


Here’s the research:


Massage helps patients manage their pain, fear, and fatigue
An analysis of 16 research studies reveals that massage may have significant benefits when used to supplement other cancer treatments. After looking at the combined evidence, researchers were encouraged by the possibilities that massage therapy can help ease cancer patients’ pain and lead to improved sleep and lowered anxiety.


Summarizing their finding, the author’s write, “This review’s promising results warrant investment of time and resources into the future research...in order to ultimately consider massage therapy a standard treatment for cancer populations experiencing pain.”


Individuals with multiple sclerosis have been found to benefit from massage therapy as well. A 2016 pilot study conducted at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, concluded that adding massage therapy to traditional medical treatments for MS patients aided in pain management and reduced fatigue. The researchers found that offering massage therapy to sufferers of this chronic condition improved their quality of life without causing any harm.


The study’s authors urge further studies, stating, “Given the state of health care reimbursement, providing evidence to support the use of interventions is critical...this issue is even more important for people with MS who have a chronic disease and resulting long-term health care needs.”


Massage therapy may not cure diseases, but it can be used to bring comfort to those in treatment. Does your practice offer pain management services?


Massage helps anxious kids and stressed out caregivers by reducing their anxiety levels and blood pressure.
An Iranian hospital evaluated the effects of massage as a method to help hospitalized children manage their anxiety and found positive results. The findings indicate that slow-stroke back massage is an effective way to help kids feel better.


A 2015 study found that back massages helped relieve the stress born by family caregivers of cancer patients. The authors of the report suggested that offering a back rub was a simple and effective way for hospital staff to help their patients’ helpers.


Offering to train caregivers or medical staff on the proper techniques for delivering a soothing massage is a great way for you to serve your community and meet potential clients.


Massage and essential oils are a soothing combination that can help you get better rest
A 2017 experimental study of patients in a surgical intensive care unit found that massage combined with aromatherapy using essential oils helps relax patients, facilitating sleep.


A separate study published in 2017 looked at the effect of acupressure massage and essential oils on the quality of sleep for career women. The findings indicated that the use of these gentle interventions can help busy women get a better night’s sleep.


Some essential oils are more relaxing than others. If your massage therapy practice doesn’t include massage with essential oils, you can still offer your clients advice on products to use at home.


You are a Part of a Thriving Industry That Helps Others
These are just a few of the studies published around the world documenting the benefits of massage. You can find more research and information at the American Massage Therapy Association, Massage Therapy Foundation, and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health websites. You can also find some of the latest research on massage therapy in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork: Research, Education, & Practice.


As you read through these resources, we’re sure you’ll agree that you are in a business that grows by helping others achieve health and wellness.


In the past, medical care was fragmented and patients had limited access to information about treatment options. But today’s internet provides access to patients and practitioners. As new research emerges, you have the opportunity to use the information gained to help your clients achieve their best health.


As always, ClinicSense is here to serve you each step of the way so you can keep doing what you do!