Got Low Back Pain? Massage Therapy May Rub It Out

Peggy O’Brien-Murphy receives a massage from therapist Loretta Lanz. O’Brien-Murphy was among the participants in a study that found both relaxation and deep tissue massage are effective treatments for lower back pain.

/Group Health Research Institute

Low back pain is second only to cold symptoms when it comes to complaints that send people to the doctor. Sooner or later, back pain seems to get most of us.

Summary For Patients

Read a summary of the findings and their implications from the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Now, a study in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that massage is an effective treatment for lower back pain. In some cases, researchers report, the benefits of massage lasted for six months or longer.

Researchers headed by epidemiologist Daniel Cherkin, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, enrolled 401 people with chronic low back pain and no identifiable reason for the pain.

Study participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatments. One group received full-body relaxation massage. A second received targeted deep tissue massage. The third group got the usual care — medication and physical therapy.

In relaxation massage, often referred to as Swedish massage, a variety of maneuvers are used to promote a feeling of relaxation throughout the body and muscles. Structural massage, commonly referred to as deep tissue massage, targets specific pain related tissues, ligaments and joints.

After 10 weeks, the results were dramatic: Nearly two-thirds of the patients who received either type of weekly massage said their back pain was significantly improved or gone altogether. Only about one-third of patients receiving the usual care experienced similar relief.

“We found that both types of massage were equally effective in helping people improve their function and diminish their symptoms,” Cherkin says. He says massage relieved the pain for six months or more.

Prior studies of massage for back pain had tested only structural forms of massage, not relaxation massage. But relaxation massage is more widely available, and it’s often less costly.

‘I’m So Very Lucky’

Peggy O’Brien-Murphy was among the study participants. In her late 60s, a retired state employee, O’Brien Murphy tried just about everything to get rid of the pain in her lower back. The massage therapy finally seemed to do the trick.

“I’m so very lucky,” she says.

Prior to the study, O’Brien-Murphy says she had found herself increasingly debilitated by back pain. At one point, she says she could hardly get out of a chair.

“It was really bad,” she says. “In fact, I was pulling myself up the stairs by the banister.” It was difficult getting into the car. And she could no longer walk the hills where she lives. For an active person, this was devastating.

So when she came upon an ad in her HMO’s newsletter, Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, she jumped at the chance to take part in the massage study.

After just two or three sessions with massage therapist Loretta Lanz, O’Brien-Murphy said she felt better. After each session she walked around the block, standing straighter and walking further each time. By the end, she felt “back to normal,” with a “spring to my walk and some energy in it!”

For O’Brien-Murphy, the massage-therapy experience has been life-changing: She has traveled to China, where she walked all over without problems, and she’s already planning her next trips.

No one knows exactly how massage works to relieve pain, says Dr. Richard Deyo of Oregon Health Sciences University, who also took part in the study.

“It may be that it helps with relaxation of muscles that are tense,” Deyo says. “But it may also be there are simply more generalized effects of relaxation — in the caring and attention and someone laying hands on — that may all be important.”

Researchers say future studies should look more closely at the benefits of massage and focus on cost-benefit analysis.

As for O’Brien-Murphy, she remains free of back pain, but not without some effort on her part. Other studies have shown that building strong and flexible muscles can help prevent back pain. O’Brien-Murphy never exercised before. But now she does weight training, muscle stretches and aerobic exercise — activities all shown to help prevent recurrence of lower back pain.

Contact Natural Healing Care Center (click) for more information on Massage Therapy for pain relief, or for any other questions,
call 520-323-0069

7 Benefits Of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a treatment approach which is growing in demand and popularity. It was once considered an alternative or fringe approach, but it is now becoming much more mainstream. More importantly, now that massage therapy is considered a mainstream treatment option, many insurance companies provide coverage for treatment sessions. This form of therapy involves hands-on techniques to increase circulation, relieve tension, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and promote relaxation throughout the entire body, as well as many other benefits. The body’s soft tissue areas include the muscles, tendons, connective tissue, etc. If someone is tense and in need of a release, or they have been injured and have extensive muscle and/or nerve tissue damage that plagues their body, massage therapy might be worth exploring. Here are some benefits of massage therapy.

1. It Is Relaxing – When the body is tense and under stress, it produces unhealthy levels of the well-known stress hormone, cortisol, which can contribute to weight gain, sleeplessness, digestive problems, and headaches. Massage therapy has been shown to decrease cortisol levels in the body. This enables the body to enter a recovery mode. Moreover, this form of therapy also triggers lasting feelings of relaxation, improved mood, and reduced stress levels. Continue reading “7 Benefits Of Massage Therapy”

What are the benefits of a deep tissue massage?

Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
  • Treats Chronic Back Pain.
  • Helps Lower High Blood Pressure.
  • Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Muscle Tension.
  • Breaks Up Scar Tissue.
  • Improves Athletic Recovery and Performance.
  • Can Help with Labor Pain and Delivery.
  • Reduces Arthritis Symptoms.

Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our amazing massage therapists! Natural Healing Care Center – 520-323-0069

Massage: Get In Touch With Its Many Benefits

Massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being. See if it’s right for you.

Massage is no longer available only through luxury spas and upscale health clubs. Today, massage therapy is offered in businesses, clinics, hospitals and even airports. If you’ve never tried massage, learn about its possible health benefits and what to expect during a massage therapy session.

What is massage?

Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many different types of massage, including these common types: Continue reading “Massage: Get In Touch With Its Many Benefits”

How Massage Can Help Keep Your Heart Healthy


As with most things having to do with your health, knowledge is power. And more than that perhaps, knowledge helps you better understand what health conditions you are at particular risk for and then, from there, make informed decisions about how you might mitigate those risks.

Risk Factors

Knowing what puts you at risk as well as how you can control some of these factors—is empowering and allows you to better manage your health and well-being, which is something you strive for with your massage therapy clients and need to do for yourself, too.

Continue reading “How Massage Can Help Keep Your Heart Healthy”

What Are the Benefits of Massage for Children?

Overview

baby massage

Massage for children offers a variety of health benefits. It is human nature to touch as a way of showing love and affection. This touch stimulates the body in positive ways to help it grow and develop. Massage is beneficial at any age but because children are still developing it can be especially helpful for them. Parent-child massage is a wonderful way to bond with your children while offering them health benefits.

Infant Weight Gain

Premature babies often struggle with weight gain. Touch, obtained through gentle massage and cuddling, releases a growth hormone in a premature infant that helps him gain necessary weight and aids development of vital organs and the brain. A study by the Department of Neonatology at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. showed that premature infants who were massaged, particularly with kinesthetic stimulation (body stroking and passive movement of the limbs), gained more weight than premature infants without massage.

Continue reading “What Are the Benefits of Massage for Children?”

Massage Therapy Benefits & Information

Benefits of massage therapy
Therapeutic massage can help anyone, at any age and ability. It relieves pain in joints, muscles, and tense areas of the body.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is a form of treatment in which the therapist combines gentle pressure and hand strokes to loosen up and release tension that causes pain. The massage therapy profession in Arizona and most other states requires licensure, continued education and proficiency in treating patients for most common conditions.

Massage therapy can benefit you as a complement to your current treatments with physicians, surgeons, physical and occupational therapists, and even psychiatrists and psychologists.

How can it help you?

Back pain, neck pain, headaches, and the injuries caused by accidents are among some of the greatest reasons people seek out professional massage. Therapeutic massage can help anyone, at any age and ability. It relieves pain in joints, muscles, and tense areas of the body. It has been used for thousands of years in different systems of ancient medicine, with roots in Greek and Chinese medicine.

Massage is a safe, non-pharmaceutical way to feel less pain, and lasting relief from stress, depression, cancer, and even troubled digestion. Most of us have an idea of what a massage is.

Continue reading “Massage Therapy Benefits & Information”

Sunburns and Massage Therapy

Did you know that in some cases a massage may actually be beneficial to helping your skin repair and replenish after a sunburn? Find out what Massage Heights Therapists say about sunburn and massage therapy.

How massage can help with sunbruns
How massage therapy can actually help with sunburns.

The hot months of July and August are the best time to get outdoors, especially when you can find some cool water to help beat the heat. Unfortunately, even with sunscreen many people manage to get painful sunburns from too much time outside. The myth is that if you have a sunburn, you should forego your routine massage appointment to allow your skin to heal. But, did you know that in some cases a massage may actually be beneficial to helping your skin repair and replenish after a sunburn? Continue reading “Sunburns and Massage Therapy”