The Latest Research Indicates Massage Therapy has Benefits from Birth to End of Life

baby receiving massage therapy

AMTA is sharing recent research on how massage therapy can provide benefits from infancy through end of life. Across all ages, massage therapy can be a therapeutic approach to enhancing physical and emotional well-being. Explore the latest studies on how massage therapy can help improve the quality of life for infants, middle-aged individuals, and older adults. 

Mother-Performed Infant Massage Improves Eczema in Infants

A 2023 study investigated the impact of mother-performed infant massage (MPIM) on infantile eczema, quality of life, and growth. Infants are prone to eczema because their skin barrier is more fragile, affecting an estimated 15 to 20 percent of children under the age of two.1 In a randomized controlled trial, 66 full-term infants with eczema were divided into an eczema control group (EC) and an eczema with MPIM group (EM), alongside a healthy full-term control group. Mothers in the EC group received routine care instructions, while those in the EM group received guidance for providing massage in addition to routine care. Data collected over 2- and 5-month intervals revealed significantly lower eczema severity, eczema remission and reduced relapse, along with improved quality of life in the group that received massage.2

Massage Therapy Reduces Low Back Pain: A Common Middle Age Health Issue

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), 44 percent of adults aged 45-65 experience back pain. A recent study compared the effects of connective tissue massage and classical massage on chronic mechanical low back pain, focusing on pain relief and autonomic responses. Seventy patients were randomly assigned to either a connective tissue massage group or a classical massage group, receiving a 4-week treatment regimen of hot packs, exercises, and massage therapy sessions. Pain intensity, autonomic responses (heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature), disability, quality of life, and sleep quality were evaluated before and after the treatment, as well as after a 6-week follow-up. Both massage types significantly reduced pain and improved disability, quality of life, and sleep quality, with classical massage showing a more pronounced pain reduction by the second week.3

Healthcare Providers Recommend Massage Therapy for Palliative Care Patients

A nationwide survey of physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners in palliative care documented recommendation rates of integrative therapies to target symptoms of palliative care patients. The survey found that massage therapy was the third most recommended integrative care modality behind mind-body interventions like meditation and biofeedback. The integrative therapies aimed to reduce pain, anxiety, mood disturbances, and distress.4

“Massage therapy offers a wide range of benefits tailored to the unique needs of individuals at different stages of life, making it a valuable practice for enhancing physical and mental health throughout one’s lifespan,” said Kimberly Kane-Santos, AMTA National President. 

About The American Massage Therapy Association

The American Massage Therapy Association, the most trusted name in massage therapy, is the largest non-profit, professional association serving massage therapists, massage students and massage schools. The association is directed by volunteer leadership and fosters ongoing, direct member-involvement through its 51 chapters. AMTA works to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and public education on the benefits of massage. To find a qualified massage therapist in your area, please visit AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist Locator Service™.


  1. Baby Eczema, Cleveland Clinic, Medically Reviewed July 2022.

  1. Lin L, Yu L, Zhang S, Liu J, Xiong Y. “The positive effect of mother-performed infant massage on infantile eczema and maternal mental state: A randomized controlled trial.” Front Public Health. 2023 Jan 11:10.

  1. Yuksel, Inc, Er, Goktug. “A comparison of the effects of connective tissue massage and classical massage on chronic mechanical low back pain.”- Medicine (Baltimore). 2023 Apr 14; 102.

  2. Goel AR, Henderson CR, Reid MC. “Do Palliative Care Providers Use Complementary and Integrative Medicine? A Nationwide Survey.” J Pain Symptom Manage. 2022 Apr;63(4):599-609.