The Role of Massage Therapy in Alleviating Chronic Pain: Recent Research Insights
Shifting Pain Management: Massage Therapy’s Role in Chronic Pain Relief
- Rethinking Chronic Pain Management
- Evidence: Integrative Therapies
- Impact on Mental Health
- The Ongoing Research Endeavor
- Post-Pandemic Recalibration
Rethinking Chronic Pain Management
The conventional reliance on opioids for chronic pain faces a transformative shift as recent studies illuminate the potential of alternative therapies like massage. Decades of research, championed by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), affirm massage therapy’s promise in alleviating chronic pain and curbing reliance on opioids.
Evidence: Integrative Therapies
Highlighting a Cleveland Clinic study, integrative therapies combining massage with acupuncture and cognitive therapy yield remarkable outcomes for chronic, non-cancer pain patients. Simultaneously, research from Stollery Children’s Hospital underscores the positive impact of hand self-shiatsu massage on improving sleep quality among youth coping with chronic pain.
Impact on Mental Health
Ongoing investigations, including research examining myofascial massage effects post-surgery for breast cancer patients, signal the profession’s commitment to diversifying massage therapy applications.
The Ongoing Research Endeavor
AMTA President Michaele Colizza advocates integrating massage therapy into comprehensive pain relief discussions between patients and healthcare providers.
The pandemic’s disruption of chronic pain services exacerbated the pain crisis in the US. Healthcare systems adapt post-pandemic, elevating non-opioid pain therapies like massage, evident in the AMTA’s 2022 Massage Profession Research Report.
These insights underscore the urgency for a paradigm shift in pain management strategies, urging exploration of non-pharmacological solutions such as massage therapy.
- Znidarsic et al. (2021), “Living Well with Chronic Pain”: Integrative Pain Management via Shared Medical Appointments.
- Brown et al. (2020), Effectiveness of Hand Self-Shiatsu to Promote Sleep in Young People with Chronic Pain.
- Sehgal et al. (2020-2024), Pain and Immobility After Breast Cancer Surgery: A Community-Based Randomized Controlled Trial of Myofascial Massage Treatment.
- AMTA 2022 Massage Profession Research Report, based on data from the annual AMTA Consumer Survey.