The Benefits of Massage Therapy
- Back pain
- Tension headaches
- Neck pain
- Surgery-related discomfort
What the experts say
Sure, it feels great, but they provide much more than a few “ahhhs” for people with back pain. “Massage therapy has been shown to boost levels of endorphins and serotonin—the body’s natural painkillers and mood regulators—and to reduce stress hormone levels,” says Dr. Weil. Massage therapy may also work at a molecular level, helping to turn on and off genes associated with inflammation, according to a study in Science Translational Medicine.
It’s showing promise for post-operation patients, as well. “We’ve conducted a number of studies on massage as a treatment for pain following surgery,” says Brent Bauer, MD, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program. “In each of these studies, we have been able to demonstrate statistically significant reductions in pain, along with significant reductions in anxiety.” The results have been so compelling, he says, that massage therapy is now routinely available to all patients undergoing surgery at the Mayo Clinic.