Why Your Physician Likes Massage

In 2007, just 5% of physicians recommended massage as part of wellness and recovery, in 2013 that number climbed to 59% and it’s still growing.

It’s no secret that many physicians recommend massage, and that many are massage clients themselves. According to the results of a 2011 survey conducted by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum, the use of massage is on the rise.

The numbers tell the story:
• 88% of individuals view massage as beneficial to overall health and wellness
• 92% of individuals believe that massage can be effective in reducing pain
• 75% of consumers surveyed claim that their primary reason for receiving a massage was medical (43%) or stress (32%) related
• 64% of hospitals use massage as part of outpatient care
• 44% use massage as part of inpatient care
• 53% of people say their doctor has recommended they get a massage

Responding to patient demand and the increasing cost of healthcare, more and more hospitals are taking a good look at complementary therapies—including massage therapy—to help patients with a variety of issues.

From back and neck pain to stress relief, doctors and hospitals are beginning to think a little differently about how they might help patients better deal with some of these conditions. Recent survey results reinforce the fact that patients want the best that both conventional and alternative medicine can offer, and hospitals are responding.

Bottom line? Don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor about how massage might fit into your overall health care regimen. Many insurance companies cover prescribed massage, too. And, talk to your massage therapist openly and honestly about the benefits you want to receive from massage therapy.

Read more about the efficacy of massage therapy:

Currin, J. Meister, E.A. (2008) A hospital-based intervention using massage to reduce distress among oncology patients.  Cancer Nurs. 31(3):214-21.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18453878?ordinalpos=3&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

Preyde M. (2003) Effectiveness of massage therapy for subacute low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Soft Tissue Manipulation, 8, 4 – 10.

Perlman AI, Sabina A, Williams AL, Njike VY, Katz DL. (2006) Massage Therapy for Osteoarthritis of the Knee. Arch Intern Med. 166(22):2533-8.

Piotrowski, M., Paterson, C., Mitchinson, A., Kim, H. M., Kirsh, M., Hinshaw, D. B. (2003) Massage as Adjuvant Therapy in the Management of Acute Postoperative Pain: A Preliminary Study in Men.  Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 197(6), 1037-1046.

Rapaport, M. H., Schettler, P., Bresee, C. (2010) A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(10), 1-10.

Field, T., Diego, Miguel, Cullen, ChristyHartshorn, Kristin, Gruskin, Alan, Hernandez-Reif, Maria, Sunshine, William. (2004). Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are lessened following massage. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 8:9-14. http://www.massagetherapyfoundation.org/pdf/Massage%20and%20carpal%20tunnel%20syndrome.pdf

Hernandez-Reif M, Field T, Krasnegor J, Theakston H, Hossain Z, Burman I (2000).  High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 4, 31 – 38.

Quinn C, Chandler C, Moraska A. Massage Therapy & Frequency of Chronic Tension Headaches. (2002) American Journal of Public Health. 92(10):1657-61

Reader M, Young R, Connor JP. (2005)  Massage therapy improves the management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. J AlternComplement Med. 11(2):311-3. PMID: 15865498.

American College of Physicians. (2008) Massage Therapy May Have Immediate Positive Effect On Pain And Mood For Advanced Cancer Patients. Science Daily 16 September. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080915174534.htm.

Castro-Sánchez, A.M., MataránPeñarrocha, G.A., Granero-Molina, J., AguileraManrique, G., QuesadaRubio, J.M., Moreno-Lorenzo, C. (2011). Benefits of massage-myofascial release therapy on pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression, and quality of life in patients with  fibromyalgiaEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011:561753.