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Massage is often thought of as a luxurious spa treatment meant for sheer pleasure, but massage has actually been proven to be beneficial for a number of medical conditions as an alternative or complimentary therapy. The Touch Research Institute highlights the following conditions as being improved through massage in massage therapy studies.1
Aggression: Massage has been shown to lessen the aggressive tendencies of adolescents exhibiting this type of behavior.
Anorexia: Massage has been able to reduce anxiety and improve mood through decreasing the stress hormone cortisol and increasing dopamine (hormone responsible for pleasure, calm).
Arthritis: Children with rheumatoid arthritis had decreased stress and decreased pain after 30 days of 15 minute per day massages.
Asthma: Asthmatic children showed improvement in lung function and decreased stress after massage therapy.
ADHD: Various studies have shown decreased anxiety, less fidgeting , better mood, less hyperactivity, better focusing and other improvements in children with ADHD after receiving massage therapy.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): People with CFS who received massage immediately had reduced depression, anxiety and cortisol levels. After 10 days of massage treatments, they also had decreased fatigue symptoms (anxiety and somatic), less pain and better sleep. Cortisol levels continued to decrease and dopamine levels increased.
Depression: Numerous studies have been done on the effects of massage for different types of depression including clinical depression, adolescent depression, post-partum depression and more. Massage increases pleasure hormones (serotonin and dopamine) and decreases cortisol (a stress hormone) so it is highly beneficial in reducing depression. The positive experience of receiving a massage alone helps people who are suffering from depression.
Diabetes: Diabetic children who received massage had better glucose control and diet compliance after one month of treatment.
Fibromyalgia: People with fibromyalgia who received massage had better sleep and less pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression. Again, cortisol levels were decreased.
These are just a few of the health conditions for which massage is highly beneficial. For more information on massage and its vast wealth of healing, please contact a licensed massage therapist today to see if massage can improve your health and quality of life!
1. Field T, Morrow C, Valdeon C, et al. Massage reduces anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric patients. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1992 Jan;31(1):125-31.