Research Published in 2013
In a recent study, researchers focused on the effects of massage on immune function, measuring antibody responses following hepatitis B vaccination among healthy medical students in massage and control groups. The study also looked at whether massage decreased stress, as the intervention took place prior to a stressful examination period.
One 15-minute chair massage per week for a total of 10 weeks resulted in significant improvement of stress-related symptoms and anxiety among both inpatient and outpatient nurses, according to recent research.
A recent study found that a small group of people who received 10 minutes of reiki during intravenous administration of conscious sedation needed less meperidine, a pain-relieving medication, during screening colonoscopy.
When reflexology was applied to areas of the feet reported to correspond to the heart, the cardiac index of 16 healthy people decreased significantly, whereas no such change occurred when reflexology was applied to other points on the feet, according to recent research.
Ten to 15 minutes of manual therapy twice a week for three weeks resulted in significant improvements in the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, and those improvements remained stable after 24 weeks, according to recent research.
A recent study found that a 10-minute massage with oil, performed four times per day for 28 days, resulted in less weight loss in the first week and greater weight gain after four weeks among preterm infants weighing less than 1,800 grams, compared to infants who received only the standard care for low birth weight.
Among adolescents with insomnia, the application of acupressure, using a device known as the Sea-Band®, resulted in significant improvements in sleep, according to recent research.
Researchers recently focused on the use of massage therapy during labor to determine, among other factors, whether massage would have any effect on delaying the use of an epidural.
A three-week balneotherapy program resulted in significant long-term reduction in Body Mass Index and weight among overweight or obese people, according to peer-reviewed research.
Twice-daily massage to preterm infants resulted in improved quality of growth among male preterm infants by decreasing body fat deposition, according to recent research.
Women who received massage therapy the morning after a mastectomy reported a significant reduction in pain, stress and muscle tension, along with an increase in relaxation, according to recent research.
Applied twice a week for four weeks, an 18-minute shoulder massage led to significant improvements in range of motion, function and muscle tightness among people with posterior shoulder tightness, according to recent research.
Research Published in 2012
The use of sustained release myofascial release resulted in a wide spectrum of improvements in a recent case study of a 54-year-old woman suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and collagenous colitis, which is a form of inflammatory bowel disease.
Lavender aromatherapy improved sleep quality among middle-aged women with insomnia, according to recent research.
Measures of comfort and well-being among patients receiving chemotherapy improved significantly following a 20-minute reiki intervention, and also after a 20-minute intervention with a sham reiki placebo, according to recent research.
When three weeks of balneotherapy was combined with physiotherapy for patients with chronic low-back pain, the patients showed a significant increase in spinal mobility, along with a significant decrease in pain and functional disability, according to recent research.
The use of massage among people with hand pain resulted in decreased pain and greater grip strength, as well as lower levels of anxiety and depressed mood, according to recent research.
Patients diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome experienced significant improvements when they combined two interventions: wearing a splint and giving themselves a three-minute hand massage most days.
Recent research found massage therapy in the postoperative thoracic surgery setting is both feasible and effective, with patients reporting significant decreases in pain following a massage.
Nurses working in an emergency environment experienced less stress and pain, along with increased work ability, among other benefits, after receiving 45-minute sessions of either massage or hypnosis, according to recent research.
In a study of young women with dysmenorrhea, or menstrual pain, 10 sessions of reflexology, provided during two consecutive menstrual cycles, significantly decreased both the intensity and duration of menstrual pain.
The blood-glucose levels of diabetic children were significantly lower after the children received 15 minutes of Swedish massage, according to recent research.
The combination of acupressure, hypnotherapy and transcendental meditation resulted in a significant decrease of blood-sugar levels among people with type 2 diabetes, according to recent research.
Twelve weeks of thermal therapy, which consisted of time in a sauna and underwater exercise in a heated pool, resulted in a significant decrease of pain and symptoms, along with a significant increase in quality of life, among women with fibromyalgia. According to researchers, these improvements remained relatively stable six months after the thermal therapy ended.
Relief from pain and nausea, along with increased relaxation and ease falling asleep, were among the benefits of massage for children undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), according to recent research.
Energy chelation, a form of biofield healing, had beneficial effects on fatigue and cortisol variability in breast cancer survivors with cancer-related fatigue, according to recent research. This research also examined the impact of believing one is receiving authentic, rather than placebo, hands-on healing.
A five-minute neck massage and spinal-manipulation routine resulted in a significant decrease in pain among men suffering from the acute onset of a migraine headache, according to recent research.
People suffering from subacute whiplash-associated disorders experienced a significant improvement in neck flexion following three sessions of a myofascial technique, according to recent research.
Myofascial release provided an immediate increase in salivary flow rate among breast-cancer survivors, indicating a parasympathetic effect, according to recent research. The research also showed that myofascial release led to increased immune function among those subjects with a positive attitude toward massage.
Sessions of massage both with and without aromatherapy reduced the severity of symptoms among menopausal women, according to recent research. However, the study's authors found aromatherapy massage yielded significantly better results than massage without aromatherapy.
?A team of massage therapists and acupuncturists provided complementary care at seven evacuation centers following the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011. The rate of satisfaction following these sessions was greater than 90 percent, with evacuees reporting both physical and psychological relief, according to a recent report in ?Integrative Medicine Insights?.
According to a recent study, acupressure applied to the PC6 acupoint with a Sea-Band® wristband significantly reduced the symptom of nausea among migraine sufferers.
Researchers recently found that five months of providing a form of qigong massage called Qigong Sensory Training resulted in significant and lasting improvements in motor skills among young children with either cerebral palsy or Down syndrome.
Among people with tension-type headaches, the use of positional release therapy (PRT) reduced the frequency and duration of these headaches and also decreased the number of pills taken for pain relief, according to recent research.
Active stretching, performed for three minutes three times per week, resulted in significant improvements in hip flexor passive range of motion among subjects with either normal or limited hamstring flexibility, according to recent research.
A team of researchers recently found that massage therapy led to improved heart-rate variability--a measure of improved autonomic nervous system development and function--among medically stable preterm male infants in the hospital.
A recent study reports that a single one-hour massage session resulted in improved balance and decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure among healthy, older adults.
Research Published in 2011
Both physical and emotional symptoms of chronic constipation were improved when a group of women with this condition received reflexology as part of a recent study.
Reiki may help prevent a decline in health and also reduce overall stress, according to recent research on first-year college students during the course of an academic year.
In a study of physically active young males with tight hamstrings and at least one latent trigger point, the combination of stretching and myofascial trigger-point therapy was shown to decrease pain and improve range of motion, among other positive findings.
Thirty minutes of reiki per week for eight weeks significantly reduced levels of depression, anxiety and pain among older adults, according to recent research.
Breast-cancer patients who received two 30-minute sessions of massage therapy per week for five weeks showed significant reductions in depression and anxious depression, according to a recent study.
A recent study showed that topical and olfactory use of the essential oil lavandin resulted in significantly less anxiety among preoperative patients about to enter the operating room.
Recent research shows both state and trait anxiety levels are reduced significantly when adults undergoing withdrawal from psychoactive drugs receive a 20-minute chair massage.
A recent study showed that teen mothers who massaged their infants for two months showed a significant decrease in depression, along with enhanced physical contact with their infants and an improved perception of their infants' temperaments.
Five weeks of acupressure sessions alleviated insomnia among residents of long-term care facilities, according to recent research.
A single session of trigger-point pressure release on latent soleus myofascial trigger points resulted in an immediate and significant improvement in ankle range of motion, according to recent research.
Following a single 30-minute session of traditional Thai massage, people experiencing back pain associated with myofascial trigger points showed significant increases in heart rate variability, pressure pain threshold and body flexibility as well as significant decreases in pain intensity, anxiety and muscle tension, according to recent research.
People suffering from work-related burnout showed significant and lasting improvements following three weeks of resort-based spa therapy, according to recent research.
Recent research has shown that fetuses may participate in maternal relaxation, and that guided imagery is linked to increased fetal well-being at the time of relaxation.
People who received massage therapy for three evenings in a row after undergoing cardiopulmonary artery bypass graft surgery showed significant improvements in fatigue and overall sleep quality, according to recent research.
Among people diagnosed with fibromyalgia, myofascial release techniques improved pain and quality of life, according to recent research.?
With the regular use of a far-infrared sauna, people with type II diabetes showed significant improvements in overall quality of life, including stress and fatigue levels, physical health, general health and social functioning, according to recent research.
For many women, menopause may bring along unwanted symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and insomnia. A recent pilot study has shown massage therapy significantly improves all three of these unwanted effects in postmenopausal women.
A single session of a muscle energy technique (MET) applied to the ?glenohumeral joint ?(GHJ) horizontal abductors of asymptomatic collegiate baseball players made a significant improvement in GHJ horizontal adduction range of motion (ROM) immediately after the intervention, a recent research article reports.
Two 10-minute aromatherapy sessions, using bergamot essential oil, significantly reduced anxiety and enhanced autonomic nervous activity among elementary school teachers, according to recent research.
Abdominal massage may have several beneficial effects on people suffering from constipation, according to recent research.
A recent peer-reviewed study shows both massage therapy and acupuncture may help relieve neuropathic pain associated with a spinal cord injury.
In a recent pilot study, researchers found that both reiki and relaxation response therapy (RRT) had a positive effect on anxiety and quality of life among men receiving external beam radiotherapy (EBRx) for prostate cancer.
Among college students with high levels of anxiety, depression or both, six 30-minute sessions of noncontact reiki resulted in a progressive improvement of the students' overall mood, according to a recent study. This improvement in mood was significant five weeks after the reiki sessions had ended.?
Women with endometriosis and painful menstruation, also known as dysmenorrhea?, experienced a significant reduction in the severity of pain after receiving 20 sessions of massage therapy, according to recent research.
For people with multiple sclerosis, a recent pilot study has shown that an aquatic exercise program is both feasible and beneficial, resulting in improved motor function among the subjects.
Breast cancer survivors who participated in a multimodal program, including core stability exercises and post-exercise massage, experience significant reductions in fatigue and improvements in strength, according to recent research.
A research study on the effects of massage therapy for cancer patients with metastatic bone pain indicates massage therapy can significantly reduce pain, improve mood and increase muscle relaxation.
A recent study examined the sit-to-stand movement of Alexander Technique practitioners as compared to healthy adult control subjects, revealing several significant differences.
A study involving health care professionals diagnosed with burnout syndrome showed that those who received a single session of reiki experienced increased heart rate variability and body temperature, supporting the researchers' hypothesis that reiki has an effect on the parasympathetic nervous system.
A recent study showed that people with elevated blood glucose levels who participated in 12 weeks of qi-gong mind-body therapy experienced a significant decrease in insulin resistance, along with reductions in weight and waist circumference, as well as improved leg strength.
In a study of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), twice-weekly sessions of Ai-Chi exercise in a swimming pool, for a total of 20 weeks, resulted in a significant and clinically relevant decrease in pain intensity, among other benefits.
Patients with severe fibromyalgia experienced significant improvements in several categories of symptoms, according to a recent study, after undergoing eight weeks of multidisciplinary care, including massage therapy, thermal therapy and ischemic pressure on 18 tender points.
After receiving a 10-minute foot massage each day for two weeks, people with dementia and a history of agitation immediately showed a significant decrease in agitated behavior, according to recent research. In addition, the reduction in agitated behavior remained significant two weeks after the massage intervention had ended.
Research Published in 2010
A European study published in June took a look at the value of shiatsu in improving overall health and well-being. The researchers found this hands-on modality contributed to the general promotion of good health among clients.
Massage therapy reduced pyschological and physical distress among children with cancer and blood diseases, thereby contributing to a general improvement in overal quality of life among subjects, according to recent research.
After three sessions of Healing Touch, 12 of 13 people with chronic headaches experienced an improvement in frequency, intensity or duration of pain, and 11 of these people reported transformative changes, according to recent research.
Myofascial trigger-point therapy reduced the number, duration and severity of tension-type headaches among children ages 5 to 15, according to recent research.
Qigong massage has been tied to a reduction in the severity of autism among children ages 6 and younger, according to recent research.
In a recent study, pregnant women diagnosed with major depression received massage therapy from their significant others twice a week for 12 weeks. Analysis showed these women not only had reduced depression at the end of 12 weeks, but they also had lower levels of depression and cortisol in the postpartum period.
A pilot study found that six weeks of massage therapy, with a focus on myofascial trigger points, helped improve several of the psychological factors commonly associated with tension-type headache (TTH).
Quality of sleep improved significantly for postpartum women who received five half-hour sessions of foot reflexology, according to a recent study. Prior to the reflexology intervention, the women had reported poor quality of sleep.
A single 20-minute massage and mobilization protocol focused on the feet and ankles of elderly adults significantly improved their performance on balance tests immediately following touch therapy, according to recent research.
Among subjects with nonspecific lumbopelvic pain, muscle energy technique was found to decrease worst-reported pain 24 hours after the hands-on intervention, according to a pilot study.
A recent study sheds further light on the link between temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) and restricted range of motion (ROM) in other parts of the body.
A blend of massage and group interpersonal psychotherapy brought a range of benefits to depressed pregnant mothers, including decreased depression, anxiety and cortisol levels, according to recent research.
A recent pilot study has shown that massage applied to preterm infants with very low birth weights resulted in improved motor skills among those infants who showed especially low motor skills at the start of the study.
Both precision reflexology and sham reflexology were found to provide significant decreases in pain intensity, along with several other symptoms, among people with multiple sclerosis, according to recent research.
Following four weeks of receiving shiatsu sessions, patients hospitalized with chronic schizophrenia showed statistical and clinical improvement on all scales of psychopathology and side effects that were used as outcome measures in this study.
After attending a five-week Feldenkrais program, three days per week, older adults showed significant improvements in balance and mobility, as well as a significant decrease in fear of falling. Balance confidence improved among those in the Feldenkrais program as well, although not to a statistically significant extent.
For women who have breast-cancer surgery that involves the dissection of axillary lymph nodes, the development of secondary lymphedema is all too common. A recent study has revealed that an early post-surgery physiotherapy program that includes manual lymph drainage, scar massage and assisted shoulder exercises significantly reduces the development of secondary lymphedema for at least one year after surgery.
For people suffering from knee osteoarthritis, two weeks of spa therapy created an array of marked improvements that lasted up to nine months, according to recent research.
A head-and-neck massage resulted in improved heart-rate variability, decreases in tension-anxiety and anger-hostility, and a reduction in head pain among research participants with chronic tension-type headaches.
People who received reiki prior to a colonoscopy procedure showed statistically significant decreases in heart rate, respirations and self-reported symptoms of anxiety, according to recent research. However, these decreases did not persist beyond the procedure.
Thirty minutes of acupressure at a specific point near the ankle of nulliparas, women who are giving birth for the first time, resulted in shorter length of labor, less pain, fewer cesarean sections and decreased use of oxytocin, according to a peer-reviewed study.
The use of a massage device was shown to reduce the appearance of cellulite in a high percentage of women for up to six months, according to a recent study.
Aqua lymphatic therapy is a form of movement therapy for women suffering from lymphedema due to breast-cancer treatment. Recent research has shown that this modality results in significant immediate improvements in limb volume, along with increased quality of life and adherence rates.
People who received tactile massage for a range of medical issues showed significant improvements across 11 measures of health and wellness following the hands-on intervention period, a recent study reported.
Acupressure significantly reduced heart rate among subjects who suffered a stroke, whereas placebo acupressure did not, according to recent research.
Both strain and blood pressure were significantly reduced among employees who received, in the office setting, one 20-minute massage per week for four weeks, according to a recent study.
For people with back pain who received either the Alexander Technique, a prescription for exercise or a combination of both, the ones who maintained the most positive attitude about the intervention and its benefits were those who received Alexander Technique, either alone or combined with exercise, according to recent research.
Research Published in 2009
Acupressure relieved pre-operative anxiety among children undergoing anesthesia, according to recent research.
Acupressure and meridian massage applied three times per day for 10 days resulted in significant weight gain among premature infants, according to recent research.
Maternal massage therapy reduced the number of days in the hospital as well as the occurrence of late-onset sepsis in infants with very low birth weight, according to recent research.
Massage therapy significantly reduced levels of pain and distress, while boosting mood in pediatric patients with chronic pain, according to recent research.
Massage was found to reduce both short- and long-term pain and anxiety among cancer patients with metastatic bone pain, according to recent research.
A series of four massages, provided weekly to children with cancer, as well as their parents, successfully reduced anxiety in both groups, according to recent research.
A 45-minute facial massage reduced anxiety and alleviated negative mood in healthy adult women, according to recent research.
People with advanced chronic venous insufficiency experienced significant and long-lasting improvements in their condition during and after intensive balneotherapy, or bathing therapy, according to recent research.
Massage coupled with kinesthetic stimulation improved weight gain among preterm infants with a birth weight greater than 1,000 grams, according to recent research.
Healing Touch (HT) performed on adult acute leukemia patients led to significant short-term improvements in fatigue and nausea, as reported in a recent pilot study.
Increased job satisfaction and decreased severity of pain were the two main benefits of employer-funded massage therapy for a group of long-term care workers, according to a recent pilot study.
Noncontact therapeutic touch (NCTT) resulted in significantly less pain among elderly post-surgical patients, according to recent research.
A recent study found massage may aid in recovery, particularly among women, from the temporary state of immunosuppresion often induced by exercise.
Short sessions of soft-tissue massage provided a sense of meaning and inner respite among cancer patients in palliative care, according to recent research.
Researchers recently took a look at six different studies about the effects of aromatherapy on people with depression or depressive symptoms. All six studies revealed aromatherapy intervention has a positive effect on depressed people.
A recent study found Kinesiology Taping to be an effective method of reducing edema of the lower limbs among patients treated with the Ilizarov method, a procedure used to lengthen limbs.
Abdominal massage significantly decreased the severity of gastrointestinal symptoms and increased bowel movements among people with constipation, according to recent research.
Massage, in combination with musculoskeletal physiotherapy techniques, led to an immediate alleviation of pain and greater ease of breathing among adults with cystic fibrosis, according to recent research.
There was a significant decrease in average body circumference, as well as appearance of cellulite, among women who received LPG endermologie sessions, according to recently published research.
In a recent study, heart rate was used to demonstrate increased parasympathetic nervous activity when trigger points in the leg muscles receive compression.
A recent study compared manual lymph drainage therapy (MLDT) to connective tissue massage (CTM) for the alleviation of symptoms associated with primary fibromyalgia. Results revealed both techniques brought benefits, but MLDT was slightly more effective among this study's subjects.
A study of end-of-life care suggests significant gains from massage therapy if it's preferred by the patient. Researchers also found the benefits may extend to the patient's primary caregiver.
According to recent research, massage therapy was shown to reduce agitated behavior in nursing-home residents with cognitive impairment.
The use of inhalers infused with lavender and rosemary essential oils was shown to reduce test-taking stress in graduate nursing students, according to a recent study.
Completing 10 sessions of Rolfing structural integration (RSI) was shown to decrease pain and improve range of motion among people who sought treatment for complaints of neck pain and limited neck motion.
Massage therapy was found to speed brain development, particularly visual function, in preterm infants, according to recent research.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients suffering from lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), such as frequency and urgency of urination, found relief following craniosacral therapy (CST) and the majority reported improved quality of life, according to recent research.
Research Published in 2008
Preterm infants in incubators who received 15 minutes of massage showed a significant increase in body temperature versus infants in a control group, who simply rested in their incubators, according to a recent study.
Menopausal symptoms were significantly reduced among women who received aromatherapy massage once a week for eight weeks, a recent study showed.
The combination of aromatherapy, music and chair massage reduced anxiety levels of emergency department (ED) nurses in both the summer and winter seasons, according to a recent study.
Aromatherapy massage and massage with carrier oil alone reduced psychological stress and fatigue more than a period of rest, according to recent research. In the study, “Differences Between the Physiologic and Psychologic Effects of Aromatherapy Body Treatment,” 13 healthy adults received one of three different interventions in random order on three separate days: aromatherapy massage, massage with a carrier oil alone and rest. The aim of the study was to examine the physiological and psychological effects of aromatherapy massage on healthy adults.
From the MASSAGE Magazine department, Research Reports, in the December 2008 issue. Article summary: Massage on healthy adults provided significant improvements in mood, immune function and serum cholesterol levels, according to recent research.
Among patients with advanced cancer, 30 minutes of massage therapy resulted in immediate benefits to both pain and mood, according to recent research.
One brief massage per day, provided during day care throughout a one-year period, significantly decreased aggressive and deviant behavior among preschool children, according to recent research.
Moderate-pressure masssage was shown to increase vagal activity and cause a shift toward greater parasympathetic nervous system activity, compared to light-pressure massage, which caused a decrease in vagal activity and greater sympathetic nervous system activity, according to a recent study.
Eucalyptus essential oil positively affected crucial immune-system cells in human blood samples, according to a recent study.
Aromatherapy massage reduced anxiety among women with breast cancer and increased type 1 and type 2 helper T cells in the blood, according to recent research.
Depressed new mothers who engaged in massage classes with their infants experienced significant reductions in depression and anxiety, compared to depressed mothers who attended a support group, according to recent research.
Massage therapy was shown to significantly increase range of motion among children with burn scars, according to recent research.
Dabbing skin dry every 10 to 15 seconds during ice massage caused a quicker decline in skin temperature, compared to ice massage with no dabbing, according to recent research.
Lavender aroma was found to reduce stress and crying and enhance sleep in very young infants, according to recent research.
Reflexology was found to reduce the physical and mental symptoms of low-back pain, according to recent research.
Deep-tissue massage was found to reduce blood pressure and heart rate, according to recent research.
Massage therapy was shown to increase the variability of plantar pressure and positively affect gait, in terms of velocity and fluidity, in a patient with diabetic neuropathy, according to recent research.
Rhythmical massage therapy provided a long-term reduction of chronic disease symptoms and improved quality of life in patients, according to recent research.
Pregnancy massage by fathers was found to reduce pain in their pregnant partners, alleviate prenatal depression in both parents and improve their relationships, according to recent research.
Preterm infant massage is consistently associated with increases in vagal activity and gastric motility, which may underlie the effects of massage therapy on preterm infant weight gain, according to recent research.
Massage is an effective and safe adjuvant therapy for the relief of acute postoperative pain in patients undergoing major operations, according to recent research.
Massage therapy was shown to reduce stress behaviors and activity in preterm infants after five days, according to recent research.
Reiki, a type of energy-based bodywork, was found to reduce fatigue, improve quality of life and decrease tiredness and anxiety in cancer patients, according to recent research.
Research Published in 2007
Massage therapy was found to greater enhance positive well-being and reduce stress among adults age 60 and older, according to recent research.
Levels of therapist training were shown to impact the effectiveness of massage as a postrace recovery tool, according to recent research.
Massage therapy may improve self-help abilities and communication as well as enhance daily functioning for children with HIV/AIDS, according to recent research.
Massage therapy may increase the self-efficacy of clients with multiple sclerosis (MS), resulting in a better psycho-emotional state as well as an improved adjustment to the disease, according to recent research.
Aromatherapy massage may be an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, depression and pain in climacteric women, according to recent research.
Traditional Thai massage was shown to reduce pain levels and pain perception in patients with nonspecific low-back pain more than a joint mobilization treatment, according to recent research.
Hydrotherapy classes appeared to provide relief of joint pain and improve physical performance measures in individuals with osteoarthritis, according to recent research.
Naprapathic manual therapy showed a greater improvement in pain and disability among patients with back and neck pain compared to evidence-based care provided by a physician, according to recent research.
Massage therapy reduced pain, anxiety and sleep disturbance and improved mood in individuals with lower-back pain, according to recent research.
Combining abdominal massage with a standard bowel program benefited patients with spinal cord injury, according to recent research.
Previous clinical reports have addressed the utilization of health care provided to patients with chronic fatiguing illnesses, including chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), by a variety of practitioners, but never examined the spectrum of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies used, according to researchers of the study "Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapy Utilization by People with Chronic Fatiguing Illnesses in the United States.”
Symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a disease that negatively affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or the surrounding masticatory musculature, consist of pain, limited mouth opening, crepitus and a clicking sound.
Treatment options for women with breast cancer include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. While these treatments are intended to help defeat the overall battle against breast cancer, they can also produce side effects such as numbness, pain, nausea, fatigue and weakness.
Researchers in the United Kingdom evaluated a course of aromatherapy massage that is currently available to cancer patients treated by the UK National Health Service. “Effectiveness of aromatherapy massage in the management of anxiety and depression in patients with cancer: a multicenter randomized controlled trial” was a two-group study.
The subjects were 288 cancer patients in four cancer centers and a hospice. They were randomly assigned to a four-week course of weekly hour-long sessions of aromatherapy massage with usual care or usual supportive care alone.
Researchers in Japan recently discovered evidence that lavender and rosemary essential oils may aid the body in defense against oxidative stress, or degenerative activity caused by free radicals. One system of defense the body uses is free radical scavenging activity (FRSA), for preventing biological phenomena such as inflammation, aging and carcinogenesis. The study, “Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva,” used salivary cortisol as an indicator of FRSA.
Massage is often applied to clients in the prone position, and this position is associated with relaxation. Previous research has shown that massage can generate a relaxation response from the autonomic nervous system. Researchers in Japan hypothesized that back massage in the prone position could alter brain activity in a part of the brain that relates to the relaxation response. “Changes in cerebral blood flow under the prone condition with and without massage” was conducted at the Hamamatsu Medical Center in Japan.
Sixty thousand new cases of Parkinson's disease are diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. This chronic, progressive neurological disease causes tremors, rigidity, impaired balance and a shuffling gait, and slows movement. A joint research study conducted by the Atlanta School of Massage and Emory University examined the effects of neuromuscular therapy (NMT) on symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
As many as 93 percent of women experience menstrual cramps, and up to 26 percent of women experience severe pain, some studies suggest. Research from a South Korean school of nursing shows that massaging an aromatherapy blend of lavender, clary sage and rose essential oils onto the abdomen just before and during a woman's menstrual period provides relief from cramps.
Past research has shown that moderate-pressure massage therapy is more effective than light-pressure massage therapy for both adults and infants, and for weight gain in preterm infants. This study, "Moderate versus light pressure massage therapy leads to greater weight gain in preterm infants," compared the behavioral states, heart rate and vagal activity in preterm infants receiving moderate-pressure massage with that of infants receiving light-pressure massage.
Musculoskeletal conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, respond well to massage therapy, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey set out to evaluate the effectiveness of massage therapy specifically for osteoarthritis (OA). "Massage therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled trial" tested the efficacy of massage as treatment for OA of the knee.
Massage therapy decreased nurses' stress, in a study conducted to compare the stress levels of nurses who received a 15-minute back massage once a week with that of nurses who did not receive any treatment. "The effectiveness of a 15 minute weekly massage in reducing physical and psychological stress levels of 60 nurses at an acute-care hospital in Queensland, Australia.
Massage therapy is effective in reducing hand pain and increasing grip strength, according to a study conducted by the Touch Research Institutes (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida.
Research Published in 2006
Dissociation and lack of bodily self-awareness are common among women who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, according to this study's researchers. "Body-Oriented Therapy in Recovery from Child Sexual Abuse: An Efficacy Study” compares therapeutic massage and body-oriented therapy as methods for eliminating these psychological states that inhibit recovery.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found that acupressure may reduce sleepiness and help keep students awake during class.
A study in England on 66 post-term women (those who attended a hospital clinic after 40 weeks gestation) showed that women who employed shiatsu techniques were significantly more likely to have spontaneous labor than the non-shiatsu group who more frequently required induced labor.
A study conducted at the University of Miami School of Medicine indicates that massage therapy may enhance motor functioning and increase muscle tone in children with Down syndrome.
Areview of more than 30 studies on the biochemical effects of massage therapy shows that massage can produce beneficial levels of certain hormones and neurotransmitters in the human body.
A new study provides evidence that reflexology is effective in combination with traditional medical treatments to help chemotherapy patients feel better and cope better with their disease.
Infants who receive Shantala massage, an ancient form of infant massage from India, experience diminished distress.
Researchers at Osaka University in Japan have found that spa bathing has a moderate effect on stress relief.
A study of hand massage at two Midwestern nursing homes evaluated the effects of this touch protocol on patient comfort and satisfaction. Although no significant differences were observed at the end of the five-week study period, significant group differences were found for both comfort and satisfaction when measured at specific times.
New research out of the Touch Research Institutes supports a 2001 study that found massage therapy to be more effective than relaxation therapy for reducing pain, anxiety and sleep disturbances caused by low-back pain, and for increasing range of motion.
Patients who receive integrative care for their low-back pain, using a multidisciplinary approach, may benefit more than patients who receive standard medical care only, a new study shows.
A study that was stopped before it reached its conclusion offered preliminary results supporting the use of aromatherapy massage for reducing anxiety among patients at the end of life.
Acupressure was effective in reducing low-back pain, with effects lasting for six months, in a National Taiwan University study.
Stanger bath is a hydroelectric, whole-body bath in which currents flow through the body to boost circulation and stimulate the immune system. It is commonly used to treat acute and chronic pain and muscle spasms.
Leg massage reduces pain associated with heel stick, a blood-drawing method for infants, according to research from the University of Calgary and Foothills Medical Center, both in Alberta, Canada.
Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among infants and young children in the developing world, according to researchers at Utah State University.
Researchers from Sweden's Karolinska Institute set out to examine the effects of Swedish massage on blood pressure. "Effects of Swedish Massage on Blood Pressure" compares massage on the torso with massage on the extremities.
A study in India on the effect of massage with oil on preterm babies' growth showed that a four-week daily regimen resulted in significant weight gain.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness from exercise can be caused by eccentric (stretching combined with contractions) muscle actions, and massage can effectively reduce this soreness, according to researchers.
Fibromyalgia patients responded positively to a deep-tissue mobilization provided by a motorized device at Memorial Hospital of Union County, in Marysville, Ohio. "Use of a Mechanical Massage Technique in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Preliminary Study" investigated the effectiveness of this technique on the symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome.
A study at the University of Virginia on the effect of a five-minute sports massage on intramuscular swelling and pain showed limited benefits. "Effects of Sport [sic] Massage on Limb Girth and Discomfort Associated with Eccentric Exercise" focused on the triceps surae muscles after an eccentric exercise session designed to induce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Researchers at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada, evaluated the effects of three different lumbar massage systems on low-back pain caused by prolonged periods of time spent driving an automobile. "The Effects of Lumbar Massage on Muscle Fatigue, Muscle Oxygenation, Low Back Discomfort, and Driver Performance during Prolonged Driving" tested roller, mechanical and pneumatic massage devices.
Research Published in 2005
In this column, researcher and massage therapist Janet Kahn, Ph.D., visits the major issues, organizations and people involved in research into complementary health care, especially massage, and updates readers on policies related to such research. In this issue: a report on integrative-medicine literature and a study on craniosacral therapy.
A 20-minute foot-and-hand massage significantly reduced subjects’ perception of pain intensity and distress the day after surgery, and also lowered their heart and respiratory rates, according to a recent study.
Repeated sauna therapy significantly reduces levels of urinary 8-Epi-Prostaglandin F2a, a marker of oxidative stress, or destruction caused by free radicals, which may lead to diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, according to recent research.
Massage significantly improved self-rated health, mental energy and muscle pain in people with chronic musculoskeletal pain, according to a recent study.
Soaking in hot mineral pools once a week significantly improved the symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduced the amount of medication taken by people with the condition, according to a recent study.
The Trager approach decreased the frequency of headaches and the use of medication for people with chronic headaches, and it improved their quality of life, according to recent research.
Massage therapy eases the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and increases grip strength, according to a recent study.
Seven days of bedtime back massage, for 10 minutes each evening, significantly reduced the anxiety, pain, blood pressure and heart rate of elderly stroke patients, according to a recent study.
Therapeutic Touch significantly reduced the anxiety of pregnant inpatients with chemical dependencies, according to a recent study.
Massage therapy significantly improved cancer patients’ symptoms, such as pain, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and depression, according to a recent study.
People with chronic heart failure who underwent two weeks of repeated sauna use experienced decreased ventricular arrhythmias, according to recent research.
Massage eases anxiety and depression, as well as leg and back pain, in depressed pregnant women, and their newborns seem to benefit as well, according to a recent study.
Heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly in people who received 30 minutes of reiki, as compared to a placebo intervention or 30 minutes of rest, according to a recent study.
You know the old joke that starts, “How do porcupines mate?” and answers, “Very carefully”? Well, integrating allopathic medicine and the various forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can also get prickly at times, especially when you get past the fun visioning stage and have to ask, “How do you actually create integrated health care?” And there we are, back at the mating question, and there are two parts to the answer. The first is, “Very carefully,” and the second, equally important, answer is “Together.”
A combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and education decreases the symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome and improves quality of life, according to a recent study.
Massage therapy helps preserve the immune systems of HIV-positive children who do not have access to antiretroviral medication, according to recent research.
In subjects undergoing alcohol detoxification, massage therapy decreased the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, reduced pulse rate and encouraged greater engagement in the treatment process, according to recent research.
In this column, researcher and massage therapist Janet Kahn, Ph.D., visits the major issues, organizations and people involved in research into complementary health care, especially massage, and updates readers on policies related to such research. In this issue: A recap of the Conference on the Biology of Manual Therapies.
Massage that includes the application of fragrant essential oils reduces anxiety and stress and is beneficial to the immune system, according to recent research.
Repeated thermal therapy may be useful for mildly depressed patients with appetite loss and subjective complaints, according to a recent study.
Following up on a groundbreaking study showing that premature newborns who are massaged gain more weight than non-massaged preemies, the researchers at Touch Research Institutes (TRI) at the University of Miami Medical School now have a good idea why.
In this column, researcher and massage therapist Janet Kahn, Ph.D., visits the major issues, organizations and people involved in research into complementary health care, especially massage, and updates readers on policies related to such research. In this issue: the Massage Therapy Foundation’s first research conference.
Research Published in 2004
Trager® therapy reduced the level of evoked stretch responses in Parkinson’s disease patients, indicating a reduction in rigidity, according to a research study.
Therapeutic Touch® alleviated agitated behavior, such as mumbling and pacing, in people with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a research study.
Reflexology significantly improved paresthesia, urinary symptoms and spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis, according to recent research.
Stable preterm infants gained more weight and slept less after five days of massage therapy than infants who did not receive massage, according to a recent study.
Massage therapy and healing touch reduced pain, mood disturbance (anger, anxiety, depression, confusion) and fatigue in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, according to a recent study
Two weeks of balneotherapy and mud-pack applications per year, two years in a row, significantly improved symptoms of osteoarthritis, and reduced the amount of hospital stays, missed workdays and necessary medication associated with this disease, according to recent research.
A 20-minute back massage enhanced mood and reduced stress in the spouses of cancer patients, according to recent research.
A recent analysis of 37 massage-therapy studies showed that massage has a significant overall effect on people, specifically in the reduction of state anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, trait anxiety, depression and pain.
Acupressure significantly improved dyspnoea - shortness of breath - in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to a recent study.
Moderate-pressure massage therapy significantly decreased stress and heart rate, and caused a shift toward left frontal electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry, suggesting that the massage was perceived as pleasant and relaxing, according to a recent study involving 36 healthy adults.
A study of the long-term effects of massage and aromatherapy on the physical and psychological symptoms of patients with advanced cancer showed that the intervention significantly improved subjects’ quality of sleep, but provided only short-term benefits for pain and anxiety.
Daily physical activity and massage help increase bone mineralization in premature infants, according to recent research.
Acupressure and massage ease fatigue and depression in people with end-stage renal disease - kidney failure - who are undergoing hemodialysis, a recent study reported.
Healing Touch can decrease pain, improve vitality and increase physical functioning in women undergoing radiation for gynecological or breast cancer, according to recent research
Massage therapy reduced depression, anxiety and anger in women with breast cancer, and increased their levels of dopamine, serotonin, natural killer cells and lymphocytes, according to recent research.
Women with breast cancer who received massage therapy showed a significant increase in both beneficial natural-killer cells and dopamine levels, and a significant decrease in long-term anxiety, as compared to women who received relaxation therapy, according to a recent study.
A program that trained parents to massage their disabled children resulted in reduced parental anxiety and increased parental perceptions of self-efficacy.
Research Published in 2003
During and after five weeks of tai chi lessons, adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) showed less anxiety, daydreaming, inappropriate emotions and hyperactivity, according to a study by the Touch Research Institute (TRI).
People with chronic back pain showed significant improvement in general pain, back pain, mood and health satisfaction after three weeks of varying therapies at a spa resort in Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Austria.
Massage improved daily functioning, increased quality of sleep and decreased stress-hormone levels in people with Parkinson's disease, according to a recent study.
Aromatherapy reduced agitation and increased constructive activity in people with severe dementia, according to a recent study.
Massage significantly reduced the number of headaches experienced by people with chronic tension headaches, and decreased the duration of the headaches, according to a recent study.
Acupressure reduced pain, anxiety and heart rate in victims of minor trauma before they reached the hospital, according to recent research.
Massage eased the feeling of lumbar fatigue in subjects who performed sustained back extensions, according to a recent study.
Massage therapy reduced neurological complications and increased patients' perception of the benefits of therapy following a bone marrow transplant. Both massage therapy and Therapeutic Touch® significantly increased patients' comfort after the bone marrow transplant, according to a recent study.
Aggressive adolescents who received massage therapy had lower anxiety, reported feeling less hostile, and were perceived by their parents as less aggressive, according to a recent study.
Infants who were massaged before bedtime adjusted to a more favorable rest-activity cycle by the age of 8 weeks and produced more melatonin, a sleep regulator, during the night by the age of 12 weeks, according to a recent study.
Lessons in the Alexander Technique led to sustained benefit for people with Parkinson’s disease, according to a recent study.
A 20-minute massage before cardiac catheterization lowers systolic blood pressure, according to a recent study.
Massage significantly lowered the intensity of soreness experienced in delayed onset muscle soreness, according to recent research.
After six weeks of reflexology sessions, children with chronic constipation and encopresis, or fecal incontinence, experienced a significant decrease in soiling and a significant increase in bowel movements, according to a recent study.
Postoperative pain and distress may be eased by massage, according to recent research.
Pressure on the extra 1 acupuncture point increases sedation and decreases stress, according to recent research.
Massage therapy decreased pain, symptom distress and anxiety in hospitalized cancer patients, according to a recent study.
Soft-tissue massage improved range of motion, reduced pain and improved function in people with shoulder pain, according to a research study.
Spa therapy for Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients is more cost-effective than conventional treatment alone, and results in improved quality of life, according to a recent study.
Research Published in 2002
A combination of tactile, visual, auditory and vestibular (rocking) interventions prove beneficial for pre-term infants diagnosed with prenatal brain injury, according to the study "Developmental Intervention for Preterm Infants Diagnosed with Periventricular Leukomalacia."
Subjects susceptible to motion sickness reported significantly fewer symptoms when wearing Acuband, a commercially available acupressure band, during a recent research study.
Following a month of daily massage therapy, administered by parents, the white blood cell and neutrophil counts of children with leukemia increased significantly, according to a recent study.
Perineal massage in the second stage of labor showed a trend toward fewer third-degree tears of the perineum, shorter length of labor and a general lack of harm, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.
Senior citizens who participated in four movement-therapy sessions showed improved balance and gait, increased leg strength, and significantly decreased leg pain, according to a recent research study.
Adults with subacute low-back pain reported improved function, less intense pain and a decrease in the quality of pain and anxiety after six sessions of massage therapy and remedial exercise, according to a research study.
Reiki reduces anxiety and blood pressure, and increases relaxation, according to recent research.
Massage benefits people with spinal-cord injuries by increasing their range of motion and muscle strength while decreasing anxiety and depression, according to a recent study.
After receiving massage twice weekly for five weeks, fibromyalgia patients experienced improved mood and sleep, and their levels of substance P, a neurotransmitter in the pain fiber system, decreased, along with the number of tender spots throughout their bodies, according to recent research.
At a New York cardiology center, massage therapists were able to incorporate a 10-minute massage in the time period between the patient's arrival at the hospital and cardiac catheterization, according to recent research.
Research Published in 2001
Women suffering from symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as irritability, headaches, anxiety and weight gain, felt relief from regular massage sessions, according to results from a recent research study.
Hypertensive adults who received regular biweekly massage sessions experienced less depression and hostility and showed a decrease in measured stress-hormone levels, according to a recent research study.
Massage reduces physical and emotional stress, and reduces pain and insomnia among primary caregivers for terminally ill family members, according to a study, "Massage as a respite intervention for primary caregivers."
Adults with chronic low-back pain found relief from massage therapy, according to a research study. Massage eased pain, reduced depression and anxiety, and improved sleep and range of motion.
HIV-positive adolescents who received twice-weekly massage experienced decreased depression and an improvement in immune system function, according to a recent study.
Preschoolers showed enhanced cognitive performance after receiving massage therapy, as evidenced by greater accuracy on skills tests than those in a control group.
Massage is an effective treatment for chronic low back pain, according to a research study conducted by the Center for Health Studies in Seattle, Washington. In a comparison of massage, acupuncture and self-care, a 10-week program of massage therapy was found to be most effective of the three.
Burn patients reported less itching, pain and anxiety, and an improvement in mood after receiving massage, according to a research study.
Massage alleviates anxiety, depression, eating disorder symptoms, poor body image and biochemical abnormalities for women diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, according to a recent research study.
Research Published in 2000
Infants who receive massage with oil show fewer stress behaviors, have lower cortisol levels and are more relaxed than infants massage without oil, according to a research study.
Researchers have shown that lavender and rosemary administered through aromatherapy positively affect psychological and physiological functioning. In a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School, first published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, researchers assessed the effect of lavender and rosemary on alertness, mood and the brain's electrical activity, and on subjects' ability to perform math computations.
A combination of acupressure and breath awareness may help people with diabetes, according to a study originally published in the journal Health & Social Work. The study showed that a short stress-relief program including touch could lower blood sugar and improve health in diabetic patients.
Massage lowers anxiety, improves mood and increases range of motion among dance students, according to a recent study.
Stimulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) through massage may enhance infant performance on cognitive tasks, according to a research study by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
A seminal study of massage on cancer patients has shown that the intervention reduces the level of pain and anxiety these patients experience during treatment for the disease.