Massage helps chronic pain
Okay, so it's not exactly independent data, but interesting all the same: a few years ago The American Massage Therapy Association found that 47% of the people polled in a consumer survey were using massage therapy specifically to relieve and manage their pain, and 91% said massage therapy was effective in reducing pain.
In another survey done in 2005 patients rate massage as equally effective as medication to treat pain.
Some research on effective use of massage to treat pain:
- Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis - Parents massaged their arthritic children and found they experienced less pain and had less morning stiffness following the massage(Field et al, 1997).
- Fibromyalgia - Patients with fibromyalgia slept better and had less pain following a month of biweekly massages. (Field et al, 2002).
- Back Pain - Participants with low back pain were found to have a reduction in pain and an increase in their mobility after massage therapy (Hernandez-Reif et al, 2001).
- Labor Pain - Massage therapy was given to pregnant women during labor and they demonstrated a decrease in anxiety and pain as well as had shorter hospital stays (Field et al, 1997).
Massage also works well if you do it yourself, but of course there are some limitations on what part of your body you can reach... Might be wonderful if you have a friend or loved one who is willing to practice their massage techniques on you, or maybe a masseur or physiotherapist in training?