5 Systematic Reviews That Lend Credibility To Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy Literature Countdown - Systematic Reviews
Systematic reviews are considered the gold standard for clinical evidence, here we break down a list of five systematic reviews that lend credibility to massage therapy. A number of systematic reviews could have been included, the idea of a list was to impose constraints that forced me be decisive and include what I felt to be the strongest reviews.

The RMT Education Project is an initiative that is working to promote the benefits of massage therapy to an international audience.  If you would like to learn more about massage therapy, check out 'The Massage Therapy Literature Countdown'.

The Massage Therapy Literature Countdown
 10 Articles All Massage Therapists Should Read
• 9 Open Access Articles for Massage Therapists
• 8 Researchers Who Are Changing Massage Therapy
• 7 Books For Massage Therapists
• 6 Blogs For Massage Therapists 
• 5 Systematic Reviews of Massage Therapy 
• 4 Articles About The Importance of Touch
 3 Bones You May Not Have Heard About
• 2 Peer-reviewed  Publications for Massage Therapists
• 1 Book That Will Change The Way You Think

Five Systematic Reviews of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy for the treatment of nonspecific low back pain

"The findings of this umbrella review indicate that massage may be an effective treatment option in the short term when compared to placebo and some active treatment options (such as relaxation)."

Kumar, S., Beaton, K., & Hughes, T. (2013). The effectiveness of massage therapy for the treatment of nonspecific low back pain: A systematic review of systematic reviews. International Journal of General Medicine IJGM, 733-733.

Effects of massage on blood pressure

"This systematic review found a medium effect of massage on SBP [systolic blood pressure] and a small effect on DBP [diastolic blood pressure] in patients with hypertension or prehypertension. High-quality randomized controlled trials are urgently required to confirm these results, although the findings of this study can be used to guide future research."

Liao, I., Chen, S., Wang, M., & Tsai, P. (2016). Effects of Massage on Blood Pressure in Patients With Hypertension and Prehypertension. The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 73-83.

The management of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries

"Our review clarifies the role of soft-tissue therapy for the management of upper and lower extremity musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. Myofascial release therapy was effective for treating lateral epicondylitis and plantar fasciitis. Movement re-education was also effective for managing lateral epicondylitis. Localized relaxation massage combined with multimodal care may provide short-term benefit for treating carpal tunnel syndrome." 

Piper, S., Shearer, H., Côté, P., Wong, J., Yu, H., Varatharajan, S., . Taylor-Vaisey, A. (2015). The effectiveness of soft-tissue therapy for the management of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the upper and lower extremities: A systematic review by the Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury management (OPTIMa) collaboration. Manual Therapy.

Non-invasive interventions for temporomandibular disorders

"The available evidence suggests that cognitive-behavioral therapy, intraoral myofascial therapy, and self-care management are therapeutic options for persistent TMD."

Randhawa, K., Bohay, R., Côté, P., Velde, G., Sutton, D., Wong, J., . . . Taylor-Vaisey, A. (2016). The Effectiveness of Non-invasive Interventions for Temporomandibular Disorders. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 1-1.

Massage therapy for
whiplash-associated disorders or neck pain?

"Our review adds new evidence to the Neck Pain Task Force and suggests that mobilization, manipulation, and clinical massage are effective interventions for the management of neck pain."

Wong, J. J., Shearer, H. M., Mior, S., Jacobs, C., Côté, P., Randhawa, K., . . . Taylor-Vaisey, A. (2015). Are manual therapies, passive physical modalities, or acupuncture effective for the management of patients with whiplash-associated disorders or neck pain and associated disorders? an update of the bone and joint decade task force on neck pain and its associated disorders by the optima collaboration. The Spine Journal.


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