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Effects of Massage Therapy Report

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Updated: Aug 20th, 2019


Massage has been in practice for many centuries and refers to manipulation of external and deep-seated levels of muscle and adjoining tissue through different methods in order to improve their function, quicken a healing process, reduce reflex activity in tendons, prevent motor-neuron vehemence, and enhance relaxation and general well-being as well as a pastime.

In the survey carried out in 2007, at least 25% of all adults in America had a massage in 2006 (Web MD 2013). There are various massage therapy styles in use and it is up to an individual which style to choose depending on their need.

Massage Styles

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is the most common and popular massage style, which involves delicate long blending strokes, as well as agile cadenced tapping strokes on most outer layers of tendons. Swedish massage involves the movement of body joints too (Web MD 2013). Swedish massage has four types of stroke.

The first stroke, effleurage, is a frictionless sliding stroke suitable for calming soft tissues. The second stroke, petrissage, involves pressuring and kneading (Web MD 2013). It follows immediately after the first stroke. The third stroke, friction, involves down reaching circular motions that make the layers of tissue move against each other, and, as a result, increases blood flow in the body and subdivides scar tissue. The last stroke, tapotement, is a brief alternating tap carried out with clenched hands (Web MD 2013).

Neuromuscular Therapy Massage

This type of therapy involves manipulation of delicate tissue (Web MD 2013). Neuromuscular therapy massage has a medical foundation and usually targets tender tendon points, circulation, nerve constriction, and postural problems arising from constantly recurring motion injuries. Neuromuscular therapy massage aims at treating biomechanical problems (Web MD 2013).

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is suitable for calming painful and tough areas in the body. Deep tissue massage employ less rhythmic motions but can be very suitable especially in cases involving continued pains like those arising from back strain.

Significance of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy leads to several benefits; in particular, it works on back pain better than acupuncture. In addition, it relieves headaches and osteoarthritis by reducing stiffness and pain. Further, it reduces cancer symptoms and minimizes stress and anxiety (Web MD 2013).

Principle of Spinal Pain Management

A number of adults in America seek medical attention for back pain several times in a lifetime. Back pain is the most occurring medical issue affecting 80% of all adults in the US. Massage is usually the best option for back pain especially when conventional medication fails to relieve it. According to the study carried out in 2003, massage therapy treats recurring pain in the back (University of Rochester Medical Center 2013).

As a massage expert utilises his/her hands or special equipment in massaging muscles, blood circulation increases which in turn transports required oxygen and nutrients to muscles. This occurrence leads to elimination of waste like lactic acid, which causes pain in various muscles (Web MD 2013). Pain that has persisted for several weeks can disappear through application of acupressure massage.

In addition, acupressure massage leads to improved mobility when mixed with exercising and stretching. Lower back pain or lumbago is more common than upper back pain and can heal on its own. However, back pain can also be stressful both physiologically and psychologically (University of Rochester Medical Center 2013). Such pain results from issues to do with bones, muscles or nerves in the spinal cord.

Poor posture or a damaged spinal disc usually leads to back pain. Massage therapy endeavours to minimise pain, relax tendons, and bring about a sense of wellness (Hospital for Special Surgery 2012). A tear comes up in the muscle fibres when muscles get strained or pulled.

When muscles heal, scar tissue entrenches in hard lines opposed to an existing muscle and such a scar prevents a muscle from operating smoothly. Massage therapy is directed at reducing scars leading to proper healing of muscles (Hospital for Special Surgery 2012). As such, muscle efficiency goes up.

Safety Concerns of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is not safe and can result in undesirable and unforeseen side effects though serious side effects are rare. According to the survey carried out in 2007, one out of ten massage therapy patients experiences minor discomforts a day after a massage session. Such discomfort is usually a form of soreness known as post-massage soreness (Ingraham 2012).

In addition, massage can lead to fresh injuries, increase existing issues, prevent patients from seeking better care and lead to mild stress in a patient. For instance, facial release therapy is usually very deep and focuses on healing adjoining tissues. Massage therapy can lead to poisoning because of waste products released during massage, which may settle in the body (Ingraham 2012).

Development and Application of Newly Designed Massage Instrument

This study explains how a newly manufactured massage apparatus, the Hand Grip T-bar is suitable for reducing consistent non-specific low back inflammation by way of cross-friction massage (Yoon et al. 2012). Twenty-two respondents with an average age of 51 years participated and the results showed that patients on Hand Grip T-bar manifested improvement while those on Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation showed no improvement (Yoon et al. 2012).

Effect of Massage on Pain Management

This study aimed at establishing the effects of massage on pain management for thoracic surgery patients. A sample size of 160 patients participated in the study. The researcher reveals that massage therapy is a solution to various problematic challenges the individuals are facing.

Such challenges include inflammation and anxiety. As such, more research is required to confirm this hypothesis that postoperative massage therapy has clinically important role in assisting patients get better after surgery (Dion et al. 2011).

Mobilization versus Massage Therapy in the Treatment of Cervicogenic Headache

The study aimed at comparing effects of cervical accumulation with massage regimen in the treatment of cervicogenic headache. It involved thirty-six respondents divided into two groups where one group dealt with spinal movement methods while the other group received treatment through massage techniques on the neck area. This study found out that spinal movement for upper cervical vertebrae within their usual range manifested greater improvement in headache inflammation compared to manual massage on the neck in individuals with cervicogenic headache.


Massage is a very old practice in the history of humankind. It serves several needs chief among them relaxation and medical therapy. The most popular type of massage, Swedish massage has four stages. In the medical field, massage is suitable for consistent lower back pains, cervicogenic headaches and healing in postoperative cases. Researchers need to study the concept of massage deeper especially in medicine.

List of References

Dion, L, Rodgers, N, Cutshall, SM, Cordes, ME, & Cha, S 2011, ‘Massage for Pain after Thoracic Surgery’, International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, vol. IV. no. 2, pp. 1-5.

Hospital for Special Surgery 2012, . Web.

Ingraham, P 2012, Web.

University of Rochester Medical Center 2013, Massage Therapy For Back Pain. Web.

Web MD 2013, . Web.

Yoon, YS, Yu, KP, Lee, KJ, & Kwak, SHK 2012, Development and Application of a newly designed massage instrument for deep cross-friction massage in chronic non-specific low back pain.

Youssef, EF, & Shanb, ASA 2013, ‘Mobilization versus massage therapy in the treatment of cervicogenic headache: A clinical study’, Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, vol. 26, pp. 17-24.

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