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An increasing number of research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins.

Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and, thus, partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity that results from illness or injury. Massage can also hasten, and lead to a more complete recovery from soft tissue injuries.

Massage provide athletes a variety of benefits, including

•  Reduced acute and chronic pain;

•  Increased muscle flexibility;

•  Improved muscle tone;

•  Reduced post-traumatic headache;

•  Reduced swelling;

•  Reduced, delayed-onset muscle soreness;

•  Lower blood pressure and heart rate;

•  Relaxed muscles

Massage Therapy for the relief of Pain

tirol-massage-arlberg-st-anton-21Massage therapy is more effective than drugs when treating back pain for fibromyalgia. Over 40 per cent of patients who used deep-tissue massage said it helped them feel better, in comparison to on 35 per cent said prescription drugs were effective. (Consumer Reports magazine, 2000)

Massage therapy is more effective than acupuncture for treating chronic lower back pain. Patients who received massage therapy used less medicine and had the lowest costs for subsequent care. (Archives of Internal Medicine, 2001)

Fifty-two patients with back pain, most of whom had tried other therapies without success, received eight massage therapy treatments over a one month period. Eighty-six per cent said they felt dramatically better following treatments. (Weintraub, 1994)

Massage therapy increased the amount of beta-endorphins in the blood by 16 per cent. Beta-endorphins are believed to be responsible for pain relief and a feeling of well being. (Kaada and Torsteinbo, 1989)

Daily massage treatments reduced the pain and stiffness of people with fibromyalgia. (Field, 1996)

Massage Therapy for the relief of stress

Young psychiatric patients who underwent massage therapy had lower stress hormone levels, better sleep patterns and less anxiety. (Field, 1995)

Massage therapy resulted in lower anxiety and stress among children with conditions such as autism and children who were victims of physical and sexual abuse. (Field, 1995)

Female patients suffering from chronic tension headaches who received 10 massage therapy treatments in two-and-a-half weeks experienced a significant long-term improvement of their headaches and moods. (Puusjarvi et al, 1990)

Massage therapy promoted relaxation among patients between 56 to 96 years of age and reduced blood pressure. (Fakouri and Jones, 1987)

Massage Therapy Pregnancy/Infants

Premature babies who received daily massages gained 47 per cent more weight and went home an average of six days sooner than those who did not receive massage therapy. The early return home saved about $3,000 (US) per infant in hospital costs. (Field et al, 1986)

Women who received massage therapy during childbirth reported less pain and anxiety. (Field et al, 1997)

Cocaine-exposed premature babies who received massage therapy gained 28 per cent more weight and developed significantly faster. (Wheeden et al, 1993)

Massage Therapy & Disease

Man-Massage-620x480In a study comparing massage therapy to Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation, patients with fibromyalgia who received massage therapy reported less pain, stiffness and fatigue. (Sunshine et al, 1996)

Children with rheumatoid arthritis who were given massage therapy treatments had much greater reduction in pain than those involved in progressive muscle relaxation therapy. (Field et al, 1997)

People with asthma who received weekly 15 minute massage therapy treatments reported reduced chest tightness, wheezing, physical pain and fatigue. (Munson and Yekyal, 1995)

Patients with cancer who received massage therapy experienced less pain, improved mobility and less swelling, (Wilkinson, 1996)

Young girls suffering from bulimia had lower depression scores, lower stress hormone levels and improved attitudes about eating and their bodies following 10 massage therapy treatments over five weeks. (Field et al, 1997)

Massage therapy had positive effects on the immune systems and stress levels of people with HIV. (Field, 1996)