The role of massage therapy in easing pain may take on larger proportions. New research shows that chronic pain may contribute to suicidal thoughts. Previous research shows that massage alleviates pain, distress and anxiety, and increases relaxation.

An article published by Health Behavior News Service noted, “After adjusting the figures to account for the effect of mental illness and chronic physical conditions, the researchers found that those who suffered from head pain were almost twice as likely as others to report having suicidal thoughts. They were also more than two times as likely to report suicide attempts.

“Those with other types of pain not related to arthritis were four times as liable to have tried to commit suicide.

“The researchers also found that almost 14 percent of those with three or more pain conditions reported suicidal thoughts and almost 6 percent of these individuals reported a suicide attempt.”

The study findings are published November/December issue of General Hospital Psychiatry.

MASSAGE Magazine has reported on how massage: reduces shoulder pain; decreases pain, symptom distress and anxiety in hospitalized cancer patients; and elicits the parasympathetic nervous response. (Issue 149.)