It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that massage can aid in pain relief.
- More than one-quarter of Americans (26%) age 20 years and over - or, an estimated 76.5 million Americans - report that they have had a problem with pain of any sort that persisted for more than 24 hours in duration. [NOTE: this number does not account for acute pain].
- Adults age 45-64 years were the most likely to report pain lasting more than 24 hours (30%). Twenty-five percent (25%) of young adults age 20-44 reported pain, and adults age 65 and over were the least likely to report pain (21%).
- More women (27.1%) than men (24.4%) reported that they were in pain 1
Pain affects the life, quality of life, and work of the American public.2 In many people, pain medications can have unpleasant side effects.3 Considering the number of people reporting pain and its effects on quality of life, and with pain medications not necessarily being the best option, the American public has become interested in examining other methods of pain relief. In the CDC’s 2007 survey of CAM therapies the top four reasons adults used CAM therapies were to treat pain including back pain or problems, neck pain or problems, joint pain or stiffness/other joint condition, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions.4 The most prevalent reason for children to use CAM therapies is also due to pain, back/neck pain to be specific.4
Research indicates that massage can reduce pain and pain intensity in patients with metastatic bone pain on an immediate, intermediate and long term time frame.5 Massage can reduce the incidence and frequency associated with headache pain.6 Massage relieves postoperative pain . 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 Massage reduced back and leg pain in pregnant women.18 Massage decreased pain, distress, tension, and anxiety in children and adolescents with chronic pain.19 Massage is recommended for children with cancer and “growing pains”.20, 21 Massage relieves chronic pain, chronic pain of moderate to severe intensity and those with myalgia.22, 23, 24 Massage reduces pain and improved the quality of life for adult cancer patients.25, 26 Massage improves subjective perception of and function for those with carpal tunnel syndrome.27 Massage has a positive effect on lower back pain.28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Massage reduces pain for those with distal radial trauma and those receiving needle insertions.34, 35
Centers for Disease Control Web site
Healthline Web site
Effects of a Full-Body Massage on Pain Intensity, Anxiety, and Physiological Relaxation in Taiwanese Patients with Metastatic Bone Pain: A Pilot Study. J Pain Symptom Manage.
Changes in Clinical Parameters in Patients with Tension-type Headache Following Massage Therapy: A Pilot Study.
Mitchinson, A.R., Kim, H.M., Rosenberg, J.M., Geisser, M., Kirsh, M., Cikrit, D., Hinshaw, D.B. (2007).
Mehling, W.E., Jacobs, B., Acree, M., Wilson, L., Bostrom, A., West, J., Acquah, J., Burns, B., Chapman, J., Hecht, F.M. (2007).
Kshettry, V.R., Carole, L.F., Henly, S.J., Sendelbach, S., Kummer, B. (2006).
Chen, H.M., Chang, F.Y., Hsu, C.T. (2005).
Wang, H.L., Keck, J.F. (2004).
Piotrowski, M.M., Paterson, C., Mitchinson, A., Kim, H.M., Kirsh, M., Hinshaw, D.B. (2003).
Taylor, A.G., Galper, D.I., Taylor, P., Rice, L.W., Andersen, W., Irvin, W., Wang, X.Q., Harrell, F.E. Jr. (2003).
Le Blanc-Louvry, I., Costaglioli, B., Boulon, C., Leroi, A.M., Ducrotte, P. (2002).
Hattan, J., King, L., Griffiths, P. (2002).
Hulme, J., Waterman, H., Hillier, V.F. (1999).
Nixon, M., Teschendorff, J., Finney, J., Karnilowicz, W. (1997).
Massage therapy reduces pain in pregnant women, alleviates prenatal depression in both parents and improves their relationships.
Suresh, S., Wang, S., Porfyris, S., Kamasinski-Sol, R., Steinhorn, D.M. (2008)
Hughes, D., Ladas, E., Rooney, D., Kelly, K. (2008)
Lowe, R.M., Hashkes, P.J. (2008).
Seers, K., Crichton, N., Martin, J., Coulson, K., Carroll, D. (2008).
Frey Law, L.A., Evans, S., Knudtson, J. Nus, S., Scholl, K., Sluka, K.A. (2008).
Currin, J., Meister, E.A. (2008).
Sagar, S.M., Dryden, T., Wong, R.K. (2007).
Moraska, A., Chandler, C., Edmiston-Schaetzel, A., Franklin, G., Calenda, E.L., Enebo, B. (2008).
Quinn, F., Hughes, C.M., Baxter, G.D. (2008).
Massage therapy helps to increase range of motion, decrease pain and assist in healing a client with low back pain and sciatica symptoms.
Hsieh, L.L., Kuo, C.H., Lee, L.H., Yen, A.M., Chien, K.L., Chen, T.H. (2006).
Brady, L.H., Henry, K., Luth, J.F. 2nd, Casper-Bruett, K.K. (2001).
Cherkin, D.C., Eisenberg, D., Sherman, K.J., Barlow, W., Kaptchuk, T.J., Street, J., Deyo, R.A. (2001)
Lang, T., Hager, H., Funovits, V., Barker, R., Steinlechner, B., Hoerauf, K., Kober, A. (2007).
Arai, Y.C., Ushida, T., Osuga, T., Matsubara, T., Oshima, K., Kawaguchi, K., Kuwabara, C., Nakao, S., Hara, A., Furuta, C., Aida, E., Ra, S., Takagi, Y., Watakabe, K. (2008).
Disclaimer: Position statements of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) are approved by the AMTA House of Delegates and reflect the views and opinions of the association, based on current research. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to scope of practice, medical diagnosis or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company or specific massage therapy technique, modality or approach.
Originally proposed by Ann Blair Kennedy
Approved September 2009