A new randomized, controlled trial compared Swedish massage with aromatic ginger oil (SMGO) on chronic low back pain and disability in older adults with traditional Thai massage (TTM).

Trained staff provided 70 participants with a 30-min SMGO and another 70 participants with TTM twice a week for five weeks, according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov.

The Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) assessed immediate effect (after each massage) and the short form McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) assessed effectiveness of massage in short-term (six weeks) and long-term (15 weeks), the abstract noted. Disability improvement was measured by the Owestry Disability Questionnaire (ODQ) at baseline, short- and long-term.

Both SMGO and TTM led to significant improvements in pain intensity and disability across the period of assessments, indicating immediate, short- and long-term effectiveness. SMGO was more effective than TTM in reducing pain and improving disability at short- and long-term assessments, according to the abstract.

“These findings suggest that the integration of either SMGO or TTM therapy as additional options to provide holistic care to older people with chronic low back pain could be considered by health professionals,” the investigators noted. “Further research into the use of ginger as an adjunct to massage therapy, particularly TTM, is recommended.”