Studies have found massage helpful for a number of conditions, including:

Pain — Pain is decreased in people with Fibromyalgia, migraines and recent surgery. Back pain may also be relieved by massage. The aging process brings with it postural changes due to less intervertebral cushioning, as well as repetitive motions and habits. Massage relaxes muscles, thereby giving the skeletal system more room to breathe, hence it lessens pain.

Anxiety — Massage reduces anxiety in cases of stress, depression, loss of a loved one, loss of appetite, and it helps ease withdrawal symptoms in adults trying to quit smoking, or changing medications.

Sports-related soreness — For those who are active, receiving massages after exercise, especially targeting muscles used most in the chosen sport or activity. Massage may help increase blood flow to your muscles and reduce muscle soreness after you exercise.

Withdrawal symptoms — Massage during withdrawal from alcohol or certain medications has shown benefits when combined with traditional medical treatment by increasing feelings of support, safety and engagement in the therapy.

Immune system — People with HIV who participate in massage studies show an increased number of natural killer cells, which defend the body from viral and cancer cells. Even for those without a major health concern, moving toxins out of the body with the help of massage may boost the immune system.

Medical treatment — People with cancer or other serious health conditions who receive regularly scheduled massage therapy during treatment report less anxiety, pain and fatigue.

Self-esteem — Because massage involves direct contact with another person through touch, it can make you feel cared for. That special attention can improve self-image in people with physical disabilities, terminal illnesses, or the normal aging process.

Are there risks with Massage?
For many conditions and injuries, massage may be a means to help you feel more relaxed, less anxious and reduce pain. It is one of several useful tools for managing your health but should not take the place of standard medical treatment and exercise.

Massage is generally safe for most people and circumstances, however, discuss massage with your doctor before making an appointment if you have (or suspect that you have):

  • Burns or open wounds on the area to be massaged
    • Had a recent heart attack
    • Cancer — you’ll want to avoid direct pressure on the tumor area
    • Deep vein thrombosis
    • Unhealed fractures
    • Rheumatoid arthritis in the area to be massaged
    • Severe osteoporosis

Massage done properly rarely leads to severe injuries. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your risk of injury. Asking questions can help you feel more at ease and reduce health risks.