A new study published in the Archives of Surgery has found that massage may complement routine care to reduce pain after major surgery. In the study, a group of 605 patients were assigned to three groups. Those who received daily 20-minute back massages in addition to routine care for four days after the surgery reported a significant decrease in postoperative pain and anxiety. Patients who had massage also experienced a faster reduction in pain intensity and unpleasantness compared to those in the control group.
Pharmacologic interventions alone may not effectively address the postoperative pain experience and can raise concerns about medication side effects. Massage therapy can play an important role in pain management. Therapeutic benefits of massage therapy include increased lymphatic and venous circulation, enhanced healing of the connective tissues, reduced lactic acid levels in the muscles, and reduced blood pressure and heart rate.
As the medical community increasingly recognizes its benefits, massage therapy is becoming a mainstay health care component within hospitals. CAM hospital programs have more than doubled and massage therapy is among the most popular inpatient and outpatient services. Patients and healthcare providers are also using massage therapy to treat other health conditions as well as for pain management.
More than 39 million individuals received a massage in the last year, according to an annual survey commissioned by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). More than half (53 percent) who discussed massage with their healthcare providers say their doctor recommended they get massage therapy. This latest survey also showed that over 40 percent have had a massage to reduce pain.
For those considering becoming a licensed massage therapist these findings are encouraging, offering career path options to work in hospital settings. Hospitals that have traditionally been structured into restricted healthcare fields are now expanding into new hospital staff options for massage therapists.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Massage Therapy program offers body therapy classes in Japanese Shiatsu, Swedish and medical massage. For program information call Joe Calareso at (305) 595-9500. For information about complementary and alternative therapies for wellness ask for Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician.