Massage Therapy Shown to be Beneficial for Enhancing Immune Function in Preterm Infants, Decreasing Blood Pressure and Improving Stability in Older Persons and Reducing Stress in Cancer Patients.
People of all ages are beginning to understand the many benefits of massage therapy, including the role it can play in overall health and well-being. Recent research compiled by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) suggests that massage can enhance the immune function in preterm infants, decrease blood pressure and improve stability in older persons, as well as reduce stress and anxiety in cancer patients.
Massage Therapy for Improved Immune Function and Weight Gain in Preterm Infants
Research published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), showed that for stable, preterm infants, daily massage therapy is positively associated with higher natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity and weight gain. American Massage Therapy Association President, Cynthia Ribeiro, says of the study, “This research demonstrates that massage therapy can benefit preterm infants by enhancing immunity and stimulating growth. Parents of preterm infants are encouraged to speak with a certified massage therapist to learn more about certain techniques designed to aid in their child’s development.”
Massage Therapy for Improvements in Balance, Neurological, and Cardiovascular Measures in Older Adults
Researchpublished in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (IJTMB ) found that older adults who receive massage therapy for up to six weeks could benefit from decreased blood pressure and improved stability. “This study suggests that regular massage therapy can produce several advantages for the older generation, including a relaxation affect for the entire body, lowering blood pressure, decreasing stress and improving balance, amongst other things,” says American Massage Therapy Association President, Cynthia Ribeiro.
Massage Therapy for Decreasing Stress in Cancer Patients
Research published in BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care indicates that massage therapy can have a positive influence on the quality of life of people suffering serious illnesses such as brain cancer. The American Massage Therapy Association acknowledges these study results, which suggest that massage therapy can improve physical as well as emotional well-being in patients with late stage disease and when used in combination with standard care, massage can help reduce stress, anxiety, pain and fatigue.
View AMTA’s Research Roundup Volume 2 online
Visit AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist® to find a qualified massage therapist in your area.
Research Roundup, Volume 1
AMTA issued its first research roundup in 2012 which also highlighted the growing body of evidence showing that massage therapy can be effective for a variety of health conditions, including:
• Osteoarthritis of the knee
• Inflammation after exercise
• Chronic low-back pain
View this research in further detail.
Massage Therapy Facts
• Between July 2010 and July 2011 roughly 38 million adult Americans (18 percent) had a massage at least once
• 75 percent of American’s surveyed claim that their primary reason for receiving a massage was medical (43 percent) and stress (32 percent) related
• 89 percent of individuals believe that massage can be effective in reducing pain; with 29 percent of respondents admitting they have used massage therapy for pain relief
• 50 percent of people claim their doctor has either strongly recommended or encouraged them to get a massage
Visit AMTA’s research section for more information from our consumer and industry fact sheets.
The American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) is a professional association of more than 56,000 members. AMTA professional members have demonstrated a level of skill and knowledge through education and/or testing and must meet continuing education requirements to retain membership. AMTA provides information about massage therapy to the public and works to improve the professional climate for massage therapists. The association also helps consumers and healthcare professionals locate qualified massage therapists nationwide, through AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist® free national locator service available at www.findamassagetherapist.org.
 Ang J, Lua J, Mathur A, et al. A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial of Massage Therapy on the Immune System of Preterm Infants. Pediatrics. 2012; 130(6):e1549-58.
 Sefton JM , Yarar C, Berry JW, et al. Six weeks of massage therapy produces changes in balance, neurological and cardiovascular measures in older persons. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.2012; 5(3):28-40.
 Keir SM and Saling JR. Pilot study of the impact of massage therapy on sources and levels of distress in brain tumour patients. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. 2012; 2:363-36.
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