Back Pain: Massage lessened lower back pain, depression and anxiety, and improved sleep. The massage therapy group also showed improved range of motion and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher.
Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, T. (2001). Low back pain is reduced and range of motion increased after massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145.
Back Pain: Degan, M., Fabris, F., Vanin, F., Bevilacqua, M., Genova, V., Mazzucco, M. & Negrisolo, A. (2000). The effectiveness of foot reflexotherapy on chronic pain associated with a herniated disk. [Italian] Professioni Infermieristiche, 53, 80-7.
METHODS: A group of 40 persons suffering almost exclusively from a lumbar-sacral disc hernia received three treatments of reflexology massage for a week.
RESULTS: 25 persons (62.5%) reported a reduction in pain, (rating at 0.75 on a scale of 0-4).
Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, H. & Burman, I. (2000). Chronic lower back pain is reduced and range of motion improved with massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 99, 1-15.
METHOD: A randomized between-groups design evaluated massage therapy versus relaxation for chronic low back pain. Treatment effects were evaluated for reducing pain, depression, anxiety and stress hormones, and sleeplessness and for improving trunk range of motion associated with chronic low back pain.
RESULTS: By the end of the study, the massage therapy group, as compared to the relaxation group, reported experiencing less pain, depression, anxiety and improved sleep. They also showed improved trunk and pain flexion performance, and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher.
Pope, M. H., Phillips, R. B., Haugh, L. D., Hsieh, C. Y., MacDonald, L., & Haldeman, S. (1994). A prospective randomized three-week trial of spinal manipulation, trans- cutaneous muscle stimulation, massage and corset in the treatment of subacute low back pain. Spine, 19, 2571-2577.
METHOD: A randomized prospective trial of manipulation, massage, corset and transcutaneous muscle stimulation (TMS) was conducted in patients with subacute low back pain. Patients were enrolled for a period of 3 weeks. They were evaluated once a week by questionnaires, visual analog scale, range of motion, maximum voluntary extension effort, straight leg raising and the Biering-Sorensen fatigue test.
RESULTS: The dropout rate was highest in the muscle stimulation and corset groups and lowest in the manipulation group. Rates of full compliance did not differ significantly across treatments. A measure of patient confidence was greatest in the manipulation group. After 3 weeks, the manipulation group scored the greatest improvements in flexion and pain while the massage group had the best extension effort and fatigue time, and the muscle stimulation group the best extension. None of the changes in physical outcome measures (range of motion, fatigue, strength or pain) were significantly different between any of the groups.
Ernst, E. (1999). Massage therapy for low back pain: a systematic revierw [In Process Citation]. Journal of Pain Symptom Management, 17, 65-69.
Massage therapy is frequently employed for low back pain. The aim of this sytematic review was to find the evidence for or against its efficacy in this indication. Four random clinical trials were located in which massage was tested as a monotherapy for low back pain. All were burdened with major methodological flaws. One of these studies suggests that massage is superior to no treatment. Two trials imply that it is equally effective as spinal manipulation or transcutaneous electrical stimulation. One study suggests that it is less effective than spinal manipulation. It is concluded that too few trials of massage therapy exist for a reliable evaluation of its efficacy. Massage seems to have some potential as a therapy for low back pain.
Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., & Theakston, H. (2001). Lower back pain is reduced and range of motion increased after massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145.
METHOD: A randomized between-groups design evaluated massage therapy versus relaxation for chronic low back pain. Treatment effects were evaluated for reducing pain, depression, anxiety and stress hormones, and sleeplessness and for improving trunk range of motion associated with chronic low back pain. Twenty-four adults (M age= 39.6 years) with low back pain of nocioceptive origin with a duration of at least 6 months participated in the study. The groups did not differ on age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity or gender. Twenty-four adults (12 women) with lower back pain were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a progressive muscle relaxation group. Sessions were 30 minutes long twice a week for five weeks. On the first and last day of the 5-week study participants completed questionnaires, provided a urine sample and were assessed for range of motion.
RESULTS: By the end of the study, the massage therapy group, as compared to the relaxation group, reported experiencing less pain, depression, anxiety and improved sleep. They also showed improved trunk and pain flexion performance, and serotonin and dopamine levels were higher.
McNamara, M.E., Burnham, D.C., Smith, C., & Carroll, D.L. (2003). The effects of back massage before diagnostic cardiac catheterization. Alternative Therapies, 9, 50-57.
METHOD: The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of a 20-minute back massage on the physiological and psychological human responses of patients admitted for a diagnostic cardiac catheterization. A randomized clinical trial design was used. Data were compared in a repeated measures design before massage, immediately following the back massage or standard care, and 10 minutes later. Forty-six subjects admitted from home for a diagnostic cardiac catheterization were included in the study. Heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, respiration, peripheral skin temperature, pain perception, and psychological state were the main outcome measures.
RESULTS: There was a significant difference between subject effect for group, with a reduction in systolic blood pressure in the treatment group. In addition, main effects were noted for time for diastolic blood pressure, respiration, total Profile of Mood States score and pain perception in both groups.
http://www.miami.edu/touch-research/Massage1.html#anchor1430530 (abstract only).
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A daily self-massage for stretching tendons alleviated pain following one month.
Field, T., Diego, M., Cullen, C., Hartshorn, K., Gruskin, A., Hernandez-Reif, M., & Sunshine, W. (In Review). Carpal tunnel syndrome is lessened following massage therapy. Hand.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Field, T., Diego, M., Cullen, C., Hartshorn, K., Gruskin, A., Hernandez-Reif, M., & Sunshine, W. (In Review). Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are lessened following massage therapy.
METHOD: The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of massage therapy for relieving the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Sixteen adults with CTS symptoms were randomized to a 4-week massage therapy or control group. Participants in the massage therapy group were taught a self-massage routine that was done daily at home. They were also massaged once a week by a therapist. The participants¹ diagnosis was based on a nerve conduction velocity test, the Phalen test, and the Tinel sign test performed by a physician. The participants were also given the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Profile of Mood States (POMS), a visual analog scale for pain and a test of grip strength.
RESULTS: Participants in the massage therapy group improved on median peak latency and grip strength. They also experienced lower levels of perceived pain, anxiety, and depressed mood. The results suggest that symptoms of CTS might be relieved by a daily regimen of massage therapy.
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EEG: Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T., Gonclaves, A., Burman, I., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197-205.
METHOD: Twenty-six adults were given a chair massage and 24 control group adults were asked to relax in the massage chair for 15 minutes, two times per week for five weeks. On the first and last days of the study they were monitored for EEG before, during and after the sessions. In addition, before and after the sessions they performed math computations, they completed POMS Depression and State Anxiety Scales and they provided a saliva sample for cortisol. At the beginning of the sessions they completed Life Events, Job Stress and Chronic POMS Depression Scales.
RESULTS: The results were as follows: 1) frontal delta power increased for both groups, suggesting relaxation; 2) the massage group showed decreased frontal alpha and beta power (suggesting enhanced alertness); while the control group showed increased alpha and beta power; 3) the massage group showed increased speed and accuracy on math computations while the control group did not change; 4) anxiety levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions, although mood state was less depressed following both the massage and control sessions; 5) salivary cortisol levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions but only on the first day; and 6) at the end of the 5 week period depression scores were lower for both groups but job stress scores were lower only for the massage group.
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Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Massage therapy (as compared to transcutaneous electrical stimulation) improved sleep patterns and decreased pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and cortisol levels.
Sunshine, W., Field, T., Schanberg, S., Quintino, O., Fierro, K., Kuhn, C., Burman, I., & Schanberg, S. (1996). Fibromyalgia benefits from massage therapy and transcutaneous electrical stimulation. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2, 18-22.
Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia patients slept better (showed lower activity levels suggesting more deep sleep), and had lower substance P levels and less pain following a month of biweekly massages.
Field, T., Diego, M., Cullen, C., Hernandez-Reif, M., Sunshine, W., & Douglas, S. (2002). Fibromyalgia pain and substance P decrease and sleep improves after massage therapy. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 8, 72-76.
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Hypertension: Massage therapy decreased diastolic blood pressure, anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, H., Hossain, Z., & Burman, I. (2000). High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 4, 31-38.
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Massage and Immunity: Pilot Study
The effects of massage therapy on the human immune response in healthy adults
Judy M. Lovasa, f1, Ashley R. Craiga, Yvette D. Segala, Robert L. Raisonb, Kathryn M. Westonb and Margaret R. Markusc
a Department of Health Science, Faculty of Science, University of Technology, Sydney b Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Technology, Sydney c Association of Massage Therapists (NSW) Ltd
Received June 2001, Revised August 2001, Accepted August 2001 Available online 19 July 2002.
Little scientific investigation has been conducted to examine objectively the belief that massage therapy can effect the immune system of healthy people. If there are any links between massage therapy and improved immune function, the mechanisms by which they operate are not known. This study evaluated the effects of massage therapy on immune functions of two healthy females.
Using a single-case experimental ABAB design, two subjects received a relaxing massage during the experimental phases (B) and no massage during baseline phases (A). Assays were conducted for T and B lymphocyte mitogen-induced proliferation, enumeration of T and B lymphocyte subsets, quantification of immunoglobulins A, G and M (IgA, IgG, IgM) and cortisol levels. Trait and state anxiety levels were also examined.
The results indicated a consistent and significant trend of increased activity of both T and B lymphocytes and levels of serum IgG for both subjects during the B phases compared to the A phases. There were no other significant differences between experimental and control conditions for the remaining measures, although serum IgM levels approached significance (P=0.06). Both subjects demonstrated a reduction in trait anxiety over the period of massage therapy.
Further studies with larger sample sizes in control and experimental groups, over a longer experimental period are necessary. The study of the effects of massage therapy poses an exciting challenge in psychoneuroimmunology.
f1 Correspondence to: J. Lovas, Department of Health Science, University of Technology, Sydney, PO Box 123, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia Tel: +61 2 9967 4860; Fax: +61 2 9514 1358.
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Job Performance/Stress: Massaged subjects showed 1) decreased frontal EEG alpha and beta waves and increased delta activity consistent with enhanced alertness; 2) math problems were completed in significantly less time with significantly fewer errors after the massage; and 3) anxiety, cortisol (stress hormone) and job stress levels were lower at the end of the 5 week period.
Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T., Goncalves, A., Burman, I., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197-205.
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Migraine Headaches: Massage therapy decreased the occurrence of headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms and increased serotonin levels.
Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Dieter, J., Swerdlow. & Diego, M., (1998). Migraine headaches were reduced by massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 96, 1-11.
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Pain Threshold Research: Pressure pain thresholds in healthy subjects: influence of physical activity, history of lower back pain factors and the use of endermology as a placebo-like treatment
Andre Farasyn and Romain Meeusen
Andre Farasyn MSc PT (VUB) & DO (Maidstone) Assistant & Doctoral Research FellowRomain Meeusen PhD PT, (VUB) Professor, Department Physical Therapy, Faculty Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, VUB, Laarbeeklaan, 113, Brussels B 1090, Belgium
Received 1 January 2002; revised 1 April 2002; accepted 1 May 2002. ; Available online 1 February 2003.
To investigate the influence of different factors on pressure pain threshold (PPT) with reference to the back and hip muscles, a group of 34 healthy adults were examined. The PPT of selected measuring points in the low thoracolumbar Erector spinae and Glutei maximus & medius and Tensor fasciae latae were determined with the aid of a Fischer pressure algometer. The intra-observer reliability for the selected measuring points were checked with two experienced examiners and can be considered reliable. There was no significant difference noted in PPT when gender and age were considered. Individuals with a history of back pain have significantly reduced PPT (P0.05) with reference to the Erector spinae at the levels of T6, T10, L1 and L3, but this was not noted with reference to the hip area. Inversely, people taking part in sport and physical fitness activities have significantly increased PPT with reference to the Erector spinae muscles especially at the level of L1 and L3 (P0.01) and all tested points relating to the hip muscles, especially noted at the level of Gluteus medius and Tensor fasciae latae muscles (P<0.005).
The group was randomly divided into a subgroup (N=20) that received a minimal endermology treatment of 30 minutes with an LPG® system (Endermology is a completely non-invasive cellulite treatment with a machine-assisted cutaneous suction system, developed in France by Louis-Michel Guitay (LPG)) and a subgroup (N=14) as a control group that rested sitting at ease for 30 minutes. Neither the application of a minimal endermology treatment for 30 minutes, nor a retest after 30 minutes rest sitting at ease, has a significant effect on the PPT. The applied active placebo-like endermology treatment can be considered as a sham treatment.
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Parkinson's disease symptoms are differentially affected by massage therapy vs. progressive muscle relaxation: a pilot study
Maria Hernandez-Reifa, Tiffany Fielda, Shay Largiea, Christy Cullena, Julia Beutlera, Chris Sandersa, William Weinerb, Dinorah Rodriguez-Batemanb, Lisette Zelayab, Saul Schanberc and Cynthia Kuhnc
a Touch Research Institutes, USA b Department of Neurology, University of Miami School of Medicine, USA c Department of Pharmacology, Duke University, USA
Available online 19 July 2002.
Sixteen adults diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (M AGE=58) received 30-min massage therapy or progressive muscle relaxation exercise sessions twice a week for 5 weeks (10 sessions total). Physicians rated participants in the massage therapy group as improved in daily living activities by the end of the study. The massaged group also rated themselves as improved in daily functioning, and having more effective and less disturbed sleep. Urine samples revealed that at the end of the 10 sessions, the massage therapy group had lower norepinephrine and epinephrine (stress hormone) levels, suggesting they were less stressed. The progressive muscle relaxation group had higher dopamine levels, which is interesting in that Parkinson's is associated with a decrease in dopamine. The relaxation group also showed higher epinephrine levels, suggesting that although the relaxation exercises might have been beneficial, some Parkinson's participants might have found the relaxation technique stressful.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Massage therapy decreased the anxiety, depression and stress hormone levels (cortisol) of children who survived Hurricane Andrew. In addition, their drawings became less depressed.
Field, T., Seligman, S., Scafidi, F., & Schanberg, S. (1996). Alleviating posttraumatic stress in children following Hurricane Andrew. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 17, 37-50.
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