So that’s the title of an article in ABMP’s latest Massage and Bodywork! A March study reaffirms that massage can provide lasting relief for chronic low-back pain. Study subjects received 10 massage sessions, and the therapists used their own treatment plan. Results were measured using questionnaires. More than half of the participants reported clinically meaningful improvement in their back pain, and several improved so much that their scores on a standard screening test dropped below the threshold for disability! Even after 3 months with no more massage therapy sessions, 75% of the subjects who reported initial improvement said they still felt better! The lead study author says the study included a diverse group of patients and reflected real-life health-care situations. The researchers conclude: “Results provide a meaningful signal of massage effect for primary care patients with chronic low back pain and call for further research in practice settings using pragmatic designs with control group.”
Leslie DeMatteo, LMT, MS’s above-mentioned article, in Institute for Integrative Health Care’s 6/1/17 newsletter edition, was another great reminder! MS is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. It manifests itself in different patterns of inflammation based on location and levels of scarring, demyelination, and axonal damage throughout the CNS. The immune system attacks myelin, a protective layer around nerve fibers. Massage has long been shown to reduce fatigue and pain, as well as to reduce swelling and inflammation throughout the body and muscle tissues. It’s also been shown to reduce pain, partly due to a decrease in stress and partly due to a decrease in tension of muscle tissue and an increase in joint mobility. Swedish massage increases circulation by physically moving blood and fluid throughout the body, bringing fresh, oxygenated blood to muscle tissues. Capillary (where gas exchange happens!) dilation occurs through light strokes. It also increases movement of lymphatic fluid, decreasing swelling and inflammation, which can also aid in occurrence of pressure sores! Lastly, it’s been shown to decrease spasticity by relaxing muscles and improving range of motion of muscles and joints. Extreme fatigue can be exacerbated by total relaxation of muscle tissue, so patient and therapist always need to keep that in mind. Even though deep pressure may feel good during the massage, the therapist must never actually use it because over the next couple of days, at least, the patient possible will be rendered incapacitated due to it!