I recently attended a massage convention and they talked about the importance of research. I never really thought too much about this before, but it was made clear that research is important in order to be taken seriously in the health care industry. The key to the professionalization of any health care field is continuous research. Massage Therapy is among the professions of complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), which means the need for research is crucial. As a massage therapist, I may know how beneficial massage is, but there are many that don’t know and may not take my word for it. Research studies will show the greater population the benefits of massage therapy and how it can not only affect one person, but is reproducible to many.
Many years ago there was very little research as it relates to massage, but today more and more studies show how effective massage is. With organizations like Massage Therapy Foundation and The Massage Therapy School Research Consortium, they are making it possible for the mainstream to know the benefits of massage and there will be research to prove it. As more research becomes available, other health care professionals may feel comfortable referring their clients to massage therapists and other alternative practitioners. This research will also keep me informed and will help me educate my clients better.
Some massage research shows the following:
A single massage can boost the immune system. (LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/09/news/la-heb-massage-20100909)
Massage is a supportive therapy for pain management, sleep problems and stress reduction. (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: http://nccam.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2010_september/massage.htm)
Massage Therapy may ease pain and improve moods in advanced cancer patients. (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/110608.htm)
Massage is beneficial for chronic neck pain (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/051809.htm)
I am pleased that massage is seen as a professional health care modality and am very honored to practice this type of work. It means a lot to me to be able to assist clients in their wellness journey and to help them feel better.
A massage will make a great gift for the ones you love, including yourself during this holiday season.
Brigitte Rawlings, LMT