New Research Continues to Strengthen the Effectiveness of Massage Therapy for Chronic Pain Relief

EVANSTON, Ill., May 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Decades of research have demonstrated the effectiveness of massage therapy for the relief of chronic pain and show its value in reducing the need for opioids. Pain, especially chronic pain, can be difficult to treat. For too long, the first option considered for pain management has been a prescription, most often for opioids. Like United States continues to fight the opioid epidemic and its devastating effects on life, society and economy, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) believes it is important for those with pain and for providers health care, to consider the role that massage can play in an integrative approach to pain relief.

Recent research studies on massage for pain relief and health issues
A recently published study from the Cleveland Clinic shows that multidisciplinary, non-pharmacological integrative therapies, including massage therapy, can improve the physical, mental and social health of patients with chronic non-cancer pain without increased use of opioid medications. Patients received evidence-based assessment and therapies from a team of integrative medicine and lifestyle professionals, including acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy, cognitive therapy, and chiropractic work. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, breathing and hypnotherapy have also been used.1

Another recent study from Stollery Children’s Hospital and the University of Alberta indicates that self-hand shiatsu massage is effective in promoting sleep in young people with chronic pain.. Participants self-applied a standardized hand shiatsu protocol and were measured for one week initially before learning the self-hand shiatsu technique, and then at four- and eight-week follow-ups. At the various measurement points, participants completed self-reported ratings of their sleep quality and daytime fatigue. Standardized self-report measures demonstrated statistically significant improvement in perceived sleep disorders, sleep-related disorders, and daytime fatigue.2

Additionally, a separate study is currently underway examining how to help differentiate between specific effects of myofascial massage and non-specific effects due to prolonged touch and attention from a massage therapist for breast cancer patients. after surgery. The massage therapy profession will examine this topic and other research at the Massage Therapy Foundation’s International Massage Therapy Research Conference this month.3

“Research on the effectiveness of massage therapy for chronic pain continues to be very promising,” says Michaële Colizza, president of AMTA. “Patients should discuss massage therapy as part of an integrative approach to their care with their doctor, as it can provide real value and relief.”

Why massage therapy for pain is more important than ever
During the pandemic, many chronic pain treatment services have been disrupted as health systems across the country have been forced to redistribute resources from non-emergency outpatient care to intensive care units for COVID-19 patients. . This delayed access has exacerbated the pain crisis in the United States, contributing to drug addiction and addiction. Now that massage therapists are practicing again, non-opioid pain therapies like massage are more important than ever. Consumers continue to appreciate massage therapy with 92% considering it effective in reducing pain. In fact, pain relief is the number one reason consumers talk to their doctors about massage.4

About the American Massage Therapy Association
The American Massage Therapy Association, the most trusted name in massage therapy, is the largest nonprofit professional association serving massage therapists, massage students, and massage schools. The association is run by volunteers and encourages the continuous and direct involvement of members through its 51 chapters. The AMTA strives to advance the profession through ethics and standards, promoting fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and educating the public about the benefits of massage. To find a qualified massage therapist in your area, please visit Find an AMTA™ Massage Therapist Locator Service.

1 Znidarsic J, et. Al. (2021). “Living well with chronic pain”: Integrative pain: Integrative pain management through shared medical appointments. Pain medication (Malden, Masse.), 22(1), 181–190. Recovered May 9, 2022 from

2 Brown, CA, Rivard, A., Reid, K., Dick, B., Bellmore, L., Qin, P., Prasad, V. & Wang, Y. (2020). Effectiveness of hand self-shiatsu for promoting sleep in young people with chronic pain: a case series design. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, 13(4), 3–11. Recovered May 9, 2022 from

3 Sehgal, A, et al., (2020-2024). Pain and immobility after breast cancer surgery: a community-based randomized controlled trial of myofascial massage treatment. The researchers propose a randomized controlled trial comparing myofascial massage to a light touch group to examine the effects on pain and immobility after breast cancer surgery. Recovered May 9, 2022 from

4 AMTA 2022 Massage Profession Research Report, based on data from the annual AMTA Consumer Survey, conducted by Overview of the CARAVAN® ENGINE in July 2021.

Media Contact: [email protected]

SOURCE American Massage Therapy Association

Comments are closed.