The Power of Touch

The Power of Touch

Exploring the health benefits of massage   

If you’ve ever considered joining the ranks of the estimated 18 million-plus people in the United States who receive massage therapy each year, you should know that this type of therapy is anything but the latest craze. In fact, experts have noted references to massage in ancient writings—from ancient China, Japan and India to Egypt, Rome and Greece.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), “a growing body of research” confirms the benefits of massage “for a variety of illnesses and ailments,“ including reducing heart rate and blood pressure, relieving certain types of back pain, and reducing anxiety and relieving stress. For more research info from AMTA, visit amtamassage.org/infocenter/research02.html

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) takes a more guarded view, noting “there is evidence that massage may benefit some patients” but also pointing out that “scientists are not yet certain what changes occur in the body during massage, whether they influence health, and if so, how.” NCCAM is sponsoring studies to answer these questions and identify the purposes for which massage may be most helpful. For more massage info from NCCAM, visit nccam.nih.gov/health/massage