Is massage good for you, or does it just feel nice?

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Is massage good for you, or does it just feel nice? Empty Is massage good for you, or does it just feel nice?

Post by Tee on Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:36 am

Will a deep tissue massage really reduce aches and pains? Will a sauna clear up my cold? And will a foot reflexology session have a long-lasting effect on my overall health?

All common questions about various well-known spa modalities, but what are the scientifically based answers?

Two weeks ago key members of the Global Spa Summit (GSS, unveiled a new portal,, that gathers medical evidence for spa and wellness therapies.

It provides an easy way for people to check out the laboratory-based research that has been done to date on spa treatments.

The truth is out there

“We do not need to wait for the research to happen. We need to aggregate the research that already exists and broadcast it,” says Dr Pelletier, an integrative health expert, university professor and one of the people behind the SpaEvidence website.

The website is sponsored by various companies involved in the spa industry, such as Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, Murad, Red Door Spas, ResortSuite, SpaFinder, Inc., SpaSoft, Westin Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, and Yelo Spa.

Only around a third of Western medical treatments are proven to work.

There are more than 640 recognized complementary and alternative medicine modalities, but up till now clinical studies have been lodged in a number of databases not easily accessible to the average spa-goer.

Western medicine isn't perfect either

“People assume that the clinical evidence always sides with conventional Western medicine, but the ‘gold standard’ for medical research, the Cochrane Reviews, indicates that only 30–35 percent of conventional medicine is adequately evidence-based,” says Dr Pelletier.

Evidence Tables compress the research: As and Bs indicate strong evidence for benefits, C and Ds suggest that studies were inadequate or haven’t shown a clear benefit yet.

Acupuncture for instance is good for osteoarthritis, chronic pain and post-operative pain (As) but not a confirmed benefit for hearing loss or to help you quit smoking (Ds).

So, back to the original questions -- will a massage de-stress me? Does a sauna banish a cold? And is foot reflexology really an effective health boost?


A Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre study reveals a single 45-minute Swedish massage decreases cortisol levels and increases the immune system’s white blood cells.

The University of Miami compared light and moderate pressure massage, and found that only moderate/stronger pressure enhances growth/development in infants and reduces stress in adults.

The University of Auckland, NZ, study found massage decreased migraine frequencies, improves sleep quality and induced heart rate and cortisol decreases for migraine patients.

The University of Goteborg, Sweden, found massage reduces nausea in women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

I love you “Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha[/color][/i]

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