Evanston, Illinois (Feb. 20, 2013):  People of all ages are beginning to understand the many benefits of massage therapy, including the role it can play in overall health and well-being. Recent research compiled by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) suggests that massage can enhance the immune function in preterm infants, decrease blood pressure and improve stability in older persons, as well as reduce stress and anxiety in cancer patients.

Massage Therapy for Improved Immune Function and Weight Gain in Preterm Infants?Research1 published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), showed that for stable, preterm infants, daily massage therapy is positively associated with higher natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity and weight gain. American Massage Therapy Association President, Cynthia Ribeiro, says of the study, “This research demonstrates that massage therapy can benefit preterm infants by enhancing immunity and stimulating growth. Parents of preterm infants are encouraged to speak with a certified massage therapist to learn more about certain techniques designed to aid in their child’s development.”

Massage Therapy for Improvements in Balance, Neurological, and Cardiovascular Measures in Older Adults?Research2 published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (IJTMB) found that older adults who receive massage therapy for up to six weeks could benefit from decreased blood pressure and improved stability. “This study suggests that regular massage therapy can produce several advantages for the older generation, including a relaxation affect for the entire body, lowering blood pressure, decreasing stress and improving balance, amongst other things,” says American Massage Therapy Association President, Cynthia Ribeiro .

Massage Therapy for Decreasing Stress in Cancer Patients?Research3 published in BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care indicates that massage therapy can have a positive influence on the quality of life of people suffering serious illnesses such as brain cancer. The American Massage Therapy Association acknowledges these study results, which suggest that massage therapy can improve physical as well as emotional well-being in patients with late stage disease and when used in combination with standard care, massage can help reduce stress, anxiety, pain and fatigue.

View AMTA’s Research Roundup Volume 2 online

The American Massage Therapy Association is the largest non-profit, professional association for massage therapists, massage students and massage schools. The association is directed by volunteer leadership elected by the membership and fosters ongoing, member involvement through its 51 chapters. AMTA works to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and public education on the benefits of massage. The association actively promotes its members to the public and potential employers.

[1] Ang J, Lua J, Mathur A, et al. A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial of Massage Therapy on the Immune System of Preterm Infants. Pediatrics. 2012; 130(6):e1549-58.

[2] Sefton JM, Yarar C, Berry JW, et al. Six weeks of massage therapy produces changes in balance, neurological and cardiovascular measures in older persons. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.2012; 5(3):28-40.

[3] Keir SM and Saling JR. Pilot study of the impact of massage therapy on sources and levels of distress in brain tumour patients. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. 2012; 2:363-36.

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