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Massage Therapy is ranked as one of the most commonly used complementary
and alternative medicine practices for its effectiveness. This report has been prepared by the Australian Association of Massage Therapists, based on research world-wide. The research includes systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials, comparative studies, case-series/studies and cross-sectional studies covering a variety of massage therapy modalities. Musculoskeletal, oncology combined with palliative care, pediatrics, sports, neurology, obstetrics, surgery, geriatrics, mental health and physiology represented the most common populations studied.
General Conclusions of the Effectiveness of Massage Therapy
- Seven studies were in unison concluding that massage therapy for subacute and chronic low back pain to be more effective than placebo.
- Six systematic reviews consistently found acupressure effective for the management of nausea and vomiting.
- Multiple studies provided good evidence supporting the effectiveness of massage therapy in managing anxiety, stress and promoting relaxation.
- Positive outcomes reported following massage therapy include pain reduction, better quality of life, improved sleep and function as well as reduced depressive symptoms.
- Studies into the benefits of massage therapy for maternal and infant care reported a reduction in infant distress, significant newborn growth and development, improved mother-infant interaction and reduced symptoms of post-natal depression.
- The breadth of participant subgroups included in this review demonstrated the versatility of massage therapy. Due to the direct soft-tissue manipulation of massage, it was not surprising that the most active research domains included musculoskeletal, neurological and sports-related conditions.
- The numbers of cases with known adverse events associated with massage therapy compared with its widespread practice were very few. In fact the numbers were deemed too small to be statistically meaningful in estimating risk.
Read the extensive Summary of Evidence-Based Research of