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Massage in the News

More than 100 million Americans suffer from lower-back pain, spending $25 billion a year (as much as the Colombian national budget) in search of relief. A tip if your pain hasn't yielded: Add Massage Prevention, March 2004 v56 i3 p46 Massage for back pain.

American Family Physician, Feb 1, 2004 v69 i3 p695 Massage and manipulation can help persistent back pain. Patients with low back pain often seek complementary and alternative medicine therapies, some of which provide symptom relief. The most popular alternative therapy for back pain is spinal manipulation, usually performed by chiropractors, followed by massage therapy and acupuncture. Massage and soft tissue manipulation were more effective than placebo or, in one study, acupuncture in relieving back pain. Serious complications of spinal manipulation are rare…

The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, Jan 2004 v21 i1 p48(2) Massage better for back pain than other alternative therapies. massage therapy is effective for persistent back pain,

Medical Benefits, July 15, 2003 v20 i13 p9(1) A review of the evidence for the effectiveness, safety and cost of acupuncture, massage therapy and spinal manipulation for back pain. (Health Care Policy). "More than 50% of Americans experience back pain each year; most have pain for more than one week. In the United States, $25 billion is spent annually on medical services for back problems and another $50 billion is spent on lost productivity and disability payments. Initial studies have found massage to be effective for persistent back pain.

Successful Meetings, July 2003 v52 i8 p28(1) The power of touch: more than just a relaxing treat, a massage can do wonders for your health. (Personal Success). Research has shown that regular massages are beneficial to a person's overall health and well-being. According to the American Massage Therapy Association in Evanston, IL, a massage improves the function of the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems, and may increase the rate at which the body recovers from injury and illness. What's more, "Massage therapy has clearly been shown to be very beneficial, particularly in areas where conventional medicine has not been as successful," says Dr. Renslow Sherer, at Chicago's Cook County Hospital, referring to such chronic conditions as arthritis and recurring headaches.

Natural Health, Dec 2002 v32 i9 p42(2) A car crash saved me: I was in a terrible accident and the treatments I discovered healed more than just my injuries. (My story: one reader's success). ON APRIL 7, 1998, THE DAY before I turned 51, my life changed irrevocably. A teenage girl in a pickup truck crashed into my minivan and totaled it. My seat belt kept me from going through the windshield, but the force of the collision shoved my van's engine back almost two feet, bruising ray legs and feet and shortening my left leg almost an inch. The air bag, which had struck me in the face, left me with a concussion. The force of the accident had also torn the muscles and ligaments in my chest and back, and separated my collarbone from my left shoulder, damaging the joint. I later learned that I'd suffered whiplash, too. Incredible Pain…He didn't know how to ease my pain other than to write me a prescription for drugs. When I told him how much I hated to take painkillers, he said there were a number of alternative therapies that could help me. He offered to write me prescriptions for them so my insurance company would cover the cost, and I gratefully accepted his offer. The first ones he wrote were for massage therapy and chiropractic. During my first visit to the massage therapist, she gently touched me to evaluate the state of my muscles, and even this light touch was agonizingly painful. Then she very cautiously began to massage the areas that weren't so badly damaged. As I felt my body relaxing, I realized that she could bring me some relief and I decided to continue treatments twice a week.

Time, July 29, 2002 v160 i5 p48+ , Massage Goes Mainstream: No longer the province of ladies who lunch--or men who pretend to--a good rubdown is now one of America's favorite hands-on experiences. Now massage has gone mainstream. It's the feel-good equivalent of having your teeth cleaned, the more therapeutic version of getting a pedicure. Lots of people are feeling that need. According to an American Massage Therapy Association survey, 17% of American adults had a massage in the past year, twice as many as in 1997. And nearly a quarter of those polled said they expect to get a massage this year. Of these, only about 35% are feeling kneady for medical reasons; most of them want to relax, relieve stress and pamper themselves. But for many, massage is not simply about paying someone to help them relax. It's about maintaining their health. Massage has long been part of the treatment for muscular and arthritic conditions, sports injuries and chronic pain. Prenatal and infant massage are also catching on and a rape-crisis center in North Carolina even offers massage or "safe touch" as part of its therapy. A national survey of employer-sponsored health plans by William M. Mercer found that 15% of HMOs offer massage. Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield cover massage in some packages too. And in March the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy released a paper calling for more research into massage and more public education on massage. Its chairman, James Gordon, says that although he prescribes massage to about half his patients, some of its healing qualities may come simply from being touched by another human.

Massage Magazine, Issue 99, September/October 2002, Massage Improves Sleep, Decreases Pain and Substance P in Fibromyalgia Patients, After receiving massage twice weekly for five weeks, fibromyalgia patients experienced improved mood and sleep, and their levels of substance P, a neurotransmitter in the pain fiber system, decreased, along with the number of tender spots throughout their bodies, according to recent research. The results revealed that, over the course of the study, the massage group, as compared with the relaxation group, experienced decreased depression; improved sleep; decreased pain, fatigue and stiffness; improved physician assessments; decreased tender points; and a reduced level of substance P.

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