Massage Therapy: A Better Solution 

Americans are now more likely to die of an opioid overdose than a car crash. As the United States struggles with an epidemic of opioid use and its devastating effects on lives, society and the economy, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) believes it's important to consider the role massage therapy can play in relieving pain. 

A recent economic modeling analysis indicates that as many as 5 million people in the United States could potentially benefit from massage therapy for pain relief, while reducing the number of people with addiction disorder by over 111,000 per year. 

Massage Therapy for Pain Management

Massage Therapy as an Alternative to Opioids 

Prescription opioids carry serious risk of addiction, abuse, and overdose, in addition to a number of side effects, even when taken as directed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999.

For that reason, a number of health organizations and governmental agencies are looking at new ways to manage pain. AMTA continues to be actively engaged in these conversations, discussing how the latest science supports massage therapy as an alternative to opioids for pain management.

Why You Should Turn to Massage Therapy for Pain Relief 

According to the CDC, 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and it affects more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. You may be wondering how to treat your pain - massage therapy is a safe option that has been shown to be effective for many health issues. 

Research continues to support the health benefits of massage therapy for pain relief. Find out how massage can help these five painful conditions. 

Five Painful Conditions that Massage Can Help

1. Low-Back Pain - Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the U.S. Research shows that massage therapy can help decrease pain, reduce disability and lower anxiety/depression in low-back pain sufferers.

2. Fibromyalgia - Studies indicate massage therapy can be a beneficial part of an integrative treatment plan for those with fibromyalgia syndrome by relieving pain, improving quality of life and decreasing anxiety, stiffness, fatigue and more.

3. Post-Operative Pain - Post-operative pain can complicate recovery, lengthen hospital stays and interfere with a patient’s return to activities. Recent research indicates massage therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety and muscular tension in patients recovering from surgical procedures.

4. Cancer Patients -  According to the Mayo Clinic, one in three patients undergoing cancer treatment experiences cancer-related pain. Research shows that massage therapy can relieve pain, stress, nausea, depression, anxiety, and fatigue while improving health-related quality of life for cancer patients. Massage was particularly effective in eradicating surgery-related pain. 

5. Arthritis - Research indicates that 60-minute sessions of Swedish massage once a week for those with osteoarthritis of the knee significantly reduced their pain. In addition, studies show that massage therapy can decrease pain, improve grip strength and range of motion in wrists and large upper joints in adults with rheumatoid arthritis, after receiving regular massage during a 4-week period. 

Find a Trusted Massage Therapist

If you or someone you know needs help with pain relief, members of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) are the most trusted massage therapists in the United States.

Search for a Massage Therapist Near You »

About AMTA 

The American Massage Therapy Association, the most trusted name in massage therapy, is the largest nonprofit, professional association for massage therapists in North America.  It 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.

Related Resources 

25 Reasons to Get a Massage

Massage Therapy Can Reduce The Cost of the National Opioid Crisis

AMTA's Engagement with Pain Organizations, Federal and State Agencies 

"AMTA is just the best professional organization there is and does the most for their people."

Karen T., AMTA member since 2002