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Complementary and Alternative Medicine Resources: Massage Therapy

What is Massage?

Massage is a term used to describe the manual manipulation of soft tissue in an effort to improve health. It is a holistic therapy that is believed to affect all body systems.

Massage techniques have been practiced for thousands of years in many cultures. Practitioners mainly use their hands, but may also use their forearms, elbows, or even their feet in some methods. Swedish massage is the most commonly practiced form of massage. Other types of massage, such as sports massage, Esalen massage, and neuromuscular massage, are modified versions of Swedish massage. Another variation, aromatherapy massage, involves the use of essential oils during massage.

Abstracted from Massage.  Natural Medicines.  Accessed 11/5/15


Potential Benefits of Massage

·         Likely effective for:

o   Cancer-related pain and anxiety, as well as sleep quality, fatigue, nausea reduction, depression, and anger in patients with cancer.

·         Possibly effective for:

o   Improving mood in children with ADHD

o   Temporarily relief from back pain.

o   Decreasing pain, anxiety, depression, and agitation in pregnant women in labor.

o   Increasing body weight in pre-term infants.

o   Reducing pain.

o   Reducing post-partum associated anxiety and depression.

o   Reducing stress and fostering relaxation.

o   Improving surgical recovery by reducing pain, distress, and anxiety.

Abstracted from Massage.  Natural Medicines.  Accessed 11/5/15

Massage Table

Photo by Michel Verdure


American Massage Therapy Association - Learn more about massage and find a qualified massage therapist

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals - Information for massage therapists and students.  Click on "public" to find local ABMP massage therapists

Society for Oncology Massage - Learn about the use of massage in patients with cancer