Common reported health benefits may include improved sleep quality, decreased anxiety, decreased pain, improved blood pressure, decreased heart rate, and improved symptoms of chronic diseases such as Arthritis and Fibromyalgia (3).
In recent years there have been many studies that explore the benefits of massage on health and wellbeing. AdelaidaMar´ıa Castro-S´anchez, et al found that a 20-week massage-myofascial release program significantly improved the pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, and quality of life in patients with Fibromyalgia (1). A paper on Massage Therapy Effects, written by Tiffany M. Field, shows a number of studies have found decreases in anxiety, depression, stress hormones (cortisol), and catecholamines. Increased para-sympathetic activity may be the underlying mechanism for these changes (3).
Another study shows that clients who were receiving a 45min to 60min deep tissue massage demonstrated a reduction in systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure and reduction in heart rate (2). These papers demonstrate just snap shots of the growing evidence that regular massage may benefit overall health.
There is also growing evidence that massage can provide an increased sense of wellbeing. A recent study conducted in a residential care setting, shows that integrating massage into the everyday care of patients had benefits for the client and the organisation (5). By introducing massage into everyday care they were able to reduce the need for the use of restraints and pharmacological intervention. This enhanced the quality of life for the older person and their families (5).
The benefits of massage are not age discriminant. There is growing evidence that infant massage not only provides benefits for the child but for the mothers and care givers as well. A recent study by Afand, et al “Effects of infant massage on state anxiety in mothers of preterm infants prior to hospital discharge.” (6), presented evidence that a mother providing infant massage had a positive effect on the mother’s anxiety levels (6). It was recommended that mothers provide massage to their babies to improve their own mental health (6).
This growing evidence reinforces the belief that massage not only holds a place in stress relief and recovery from injury, but may also play a part in improved overall health and wellbeing.
African Journal of Traditional, Complementary & Alternative Medicines . 2017, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p83-88. 6p.
by Ben Hewitt
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