Chronic disease prevention or care: Few of the several benefits of massage

  The benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) (including massage) are readily apparent and have been shown, for
example, through a systematic review to be safe, efficacious vs. placebo, and cost-effective [1].

Massage is a treatment which has been shown to be efficacious when used on the practitioners themselves [2].
Regarding chronic care, pain was reduced and mood improved for nursing home residents with cancer [3]. Massage is recommended to
be integrated in physical therapy for elderly; especially nowadays with the rising elderly population requiring prevention or treatment of
arthritic conditions [4].  And among a large proportion of veterans experiencing non-cancerous chronic pain, CAM appears to have a
broad appeal after responses indicated that almost all in the study had a willingness to try CAM; with massage being the most preferred
option [5].

Massage thus appears to have a benefit for both practitioners (they need care too!) and patients and is promising for chronic and elderly care. Due to its obvious cost-effectiveness (if you want to scratch out any expensive oils and just consider the most important tool: hands); ability to reduce pain and stress; and even the possibility of preventing or treating inflammation, blockages or arthritic manifestation, massage should be an essential component in general health and should be considered for incorporation into all forms physical therapy wherever possible.


1: Furlan AD, Yazdi F, Tsertsvadze A, Gross A, Van Tulder M, Santaguida L, Gagnier J, Ammendolia C, Dryden T, Doucette S, Skidmore B, Daniel R, Ostermann T, Tsouros S. A systematic review and meta-analysis of efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and safety of selected complementary and alternative medicine forneck and low-back pain. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:953139.

2: Jensen AM, Ramasamy A, Hotek J, Roel B, Riffe D. The Benefits of Giving a Massage on the Mental State of Massage Therapists: A Randomized, ControlledTrial. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Sep 4.

3: Hodgson NA, Lafferty D. Reflexology versus Swedish Massage to Reduce Physiologic Stress and Pain and Improve Mood in Nursing Home Residents with Cancer: A Pilot Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:456897. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

4: Hardt R. [Special features of physical therapy for elderly rheumatic patients]. Z Rheumatol. 2012 Jul;71(5):396-402. German.

5: Denneson LM, Corson K, Dobscha SK. Complementary and alternative medicine use among veterans with chronic noncancer pain. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011;48(9):1119-28.

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About Adrian Levitsky

Adrian is a Research Technician and Doctoral Student at Karolinska Institutet's ClinTRID department for Inflammatory (Autoimmune) Disease research. He is a blogger for the Silverevolution initiative by ACCESS Health International. He defended his Masters thesis in Global Health at Karolinska and worked together with the CAMbrella project's Swedish team ( in analyzing global key stakeholders of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Traditional Medicine (TM). He has an avid interest in research. Particularly, he wishes to research CAM/TM and promulgate an evidence base for the potential effectiveness of integrative care -- as this communication still is lacking globally. Adrian has a background starting as a pilot at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which later evolved to studying Human Factors Psychology with a drive to understand how man and machine work together. This field often focuses heavily on research and involves testing available theories or finding new solutions to prevent work-related injuries, reduce stress, and emphasize usability/ergonomics. Teaching English in South Korea made him realize the need for innovation and imagination for all school curricula in order to solve today’s dilemmas.

One response to “Chronic disease prevention or care: Few of the several benefits of massage”

  1. wartica says :

    I agree; exercise and frequent massages will get you to feel like you’re on top of the world;)

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