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What Conditions May be Helped by Therapeutic Massage?

An increasing number of research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins (enhancing medical treatment). Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and, thus, partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. It also can hasten and lead to a more complete recovery from exercise or injury.

People with the following conditions have reported that therapeutic massage has lessened or relieved many of their symptoms.

* Arthritis 1
* Asthma 2
* Carpal tunnel syndrome 3
* Chronic and acute pain 4
* Circulatory problems 5
* Gastrointestinal disorders (including spastic colon, colic and constipation)
* Headache 7
* Immune function disorders 8
* Insomnia 9
* Myofascial pain 10
* Premature infants 11
* Reduced range of motion 12
* Sports injuries 13 (including pulled or strained muscles and ligaments)
* Stress 14
* Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction 15

Contraindications

* Certain forms of cancer
* Phlebitis
* Some cardiac problems
* Some skin conditions
* Infectious diseases

1 Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Seligman, S., Krasnegor, J., Sunshine, W., Rivas-Chacon, R., & Schanberg, S. Jrnl. Ped. Psychology, 1997.
2 Field, T., Henteleff, T., Hernandez-Reif, M, Marting, E., Mavunda, K., Kuhn, C., & Schanberg, S. Jrnl. of Ped., 1997.
3 Sheon R.P., Postgrad Med., 1997.
4 Weintraub, M. American Journal of Pain Management, 1992.
5 Meek, S.S., J. Nurs. Sch., 1993.
6 Klauser, A.G., et.al. Z. Gastroenterol, 1992.
7 Puustjarvi, K., Airaksinen, O., Pontinen, P.J. Acupunct. Electrother. Res., 1990.
8 Ironson, G., et.al. Intl. Jr. Neurosc., 1996.
9 Richards, KC., Am J Crit Care, 1998.
10 Danneskoild-Samsoe, B., et.al. Scand J Rehab Med., 1982.
11 Scafidi, F.A., Field, T., Schanberg, S.M. J. Dev. Behav. Pediatr., 1993.
12 Crosman, J.L., et.al. Jr. Orthop. & Sports Phys. Th., 1984.
13 Goats, G.C. Br. J. Sports Med., 1994.
14 Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T., Goncalves, A., Burman, I., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. Intl. Jrnl. of Neurosc. ,1996.
15 Blood, S.D. Jrnl. of Am. Osteop. Assoc., 1986. Canadian Lifeline Massage Therapy Clinic

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