Massage therapy is largely becoming popular in the West. It involves a variety of techniques depending on the type of massage, and usually depends on the person's needs and physical condition.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), massage therapy is effective in alleviating symptoms of different physical problems and ailments, as proven by past and emerging research.
Massage therapy's effects on the following conditions and diseases have been extensively studied.
Numerous systematic reviews and clinical studies have suggested that at least for the short term, massage therapy for cancer patients may reduce pain, promote relaxation, and boost mood. However, the National Cancer Institute urges massage therapists to take specific precautions with cancer patients and avoid massaging:
- Open wounds, bruises, or areas with skin breakdown
- Directly over the tumor site
- Areas with a blood clot in a vein
- Sensitive areas following radiation therapy.
- A 2008 systematic review and 2011 NCCAM-funded clinical trial concluded that massage may be useful for chronic low-back pain.
- Massage may help with chronic neck pain, a 2009 NCCAM-funded clinical trial reported.
- Massage may help with pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee, according to a 2012 NCCAM-funded study.
- Studies suggest that for women in labor, massage provided some pain relief and increased their satisfaction with other forms of pain relief, but the evidence is not strong, a 2012 review concluded.
Massage therapy may help improve the quality of life for people with HIV or AIDS, a 2010 systematic review of four small clinical trials concluded.
A 2010 review concluded that massage therapy may help temporarily reduce pain, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, but the evidence is not definitive. The authors noted that it is important that the massage therapist not cause pain.
Info from NCCAM