In people young and old, from head to toe, studies continue to show how massage can help you to maintain a healthier body and mind. When you read the rest of this issue, you’ll see some of the latest news on how massage can help to support your personal health goals.
Is regular bodywork the ultimate in preventive health care? Since it aids in improving the body’s ability to maintain a better state of balance, it certainly can help you to function better.
And of course, we all know how great massage is in helping to recover from stiffness and soreness. So, be sure to keep regular massage as a high priority in your life.
Enjoy the rest of your summer; see you soon for your next massage!
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New Research Shows Massage Therapy Eases Back Pain Validating what massage therapists and clients already know to be true, massage therapy was found to ease chronic low-back pain in a new, randomized controlled trial.
"We found that massage helps people with back pain to function even after six months," said trial leader Daniel C. Cherkin, Ph.D., a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute. Better function means they are more able to work, take care of themselves, and be active.
"This is important because chronic back pain is among the most common reasons people see doctors and alternative practitioners, including massage therapists," Cherkin added. "It's also a common cause of disability, absenteeism, and presenteeism, when people are at work but can't perform well."
The trial enrolled 400 Group Health Cooperative patients who had had low-back pain for at least three months. Their pain was nonspecific, meaning with no identified cause.
They were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: structural massage, which involved identifying and focusing on specific pain-related soft tissues, including muscles and ligaments; relaxation, or Swedish, massage; or usual care. Usual care was what they would have received anyway, most often medications. The hour-long massage sessions were given weekly for 10 weeks.
At 10 weeks, more than one in three patients who received either type of massage, but only one in 25 patients who got usual care, said their back pain was much better or gone.
Also at 10 weeks, a questionnaire showed nearly twice as many massage patients (around two thirds) as usual-care patients (more than one third) were functioning significantly better than at the trial's outset.
Patients in the massage groups spent fewer days in bed, were more active, and used less anti-inflammatory medication than did those with usual care.
"We found the benefits of massage are about as strong as those reported for other effective treatments: medications, acupuncture, exercise, and yoga," Cherkin said. "And massage is at least as safe as other treatment options. So people who have persistent back pain may want to consider massage as an option."
Research Shows Massage Therapy Benefits Older Clients in Many Ways Massage clients seek sessions for pain relief, relaxation, stress reduction and additional factors that can vary with physical condition and age. New research indicates massage therapy is associated with a variety of positive outcomes ranging from decreased pain to improved emotional health for adults aged 60 and older who self-reported on quality-of-life measures.
"Persistent pain is a frequent complaint among older adults and can greatly decrease quality of life while also contributing to other negative outcomes such as poor health, increased pharmaceutical medication usage, increased rates of depression, and cognitive decline," researchers from the Graduate Center for Gerontology at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, noted in an abstract posted on www.pubmed.gov.
The purpose of this study was to measure massage therapy's effect on persistent pain by comparing self-reported health-outcome scores among those who had and had not utilized massage therapy in the past year.
Lexington-area adults aged 60 and older who reported persistent pain were eligible to participate in the study.
The research found massage therapy is associated with less limitation due to physical or emotional issues, better emotional health, more energy, less fatigue, better social functioning, and better overall health in older adults who self-reported on these items.
"While many causes of pain for older adults elude cure, further study is warranted that examines [massage therapy] as an intervention to improve coping in older adults with persistent pain," the researchers noted.
"Massage Therapy Usage and Reported Health in Older Adults Experiencing Persistent Pain" was published in the Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine.
To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.
— Anatole France
Happiness gives us the energy which is the basis of health.
— Henri-Frédéric Amiel
The content of this letter is not intended to replace professional medical advice.
If you’re ill, please consult a physician.
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