The Magic of Massage
Any spa lover knows the soothing power of a head-to-toe rubdown with healing hands. But massage may offer much more than short-term stress relief, according to recent research. Here’s a look at a few of the latest study findings on massage therapy’s potential to enhance your health:
• Natural anxiety relief. Massage may help alleviate anxiety, a 2010 study from the journal Depression and Anxiety shows. After 10 sessions of massage therapy, relaxation therapy (which consisted of breathing deeply while lying down), or thermotherapy (in which participants had their legs and arms wrapped with heating pads and warm towels), 68 people with generalized anxiety disorder reported that their anxiety symptoms had dropped by about 40 percent.
• Less headache pain. Just one half-hour massage may help treat chronic tension headaches, an increasingly common disorder marked by daily or continuous pain in the back of the neck and/or scalp. That’s the finding of a 2010 study from the American Journal of Manipulative Physiological and Therapeutics, in which 11 chronic tension headache patients underwent either a placebo treatment or a 30-minute massage that targeted their trigger points.
• Brighter mood. For a 2010 report published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, researchers reviewed 17 studies (with a total of 786 patients) and concluded that massage therapy may help elevate mood in people struggling with depression.