Why Does Massage Therapy Work?

Five science backed ways massage makes you feel better

In a contemporary approach massage therapists use a clinically-oriented multi-modal treatment (manual therapy, remedial exercise and patient education) based on the biopsychosocial model of health and disease.

Massage has been used by most societies throughout history to treat people with illnesses and disabilities. It is widely accepted that massage is good for aches and pain, but it is only recently that scientists began asking, why is massage good for aches and pain?

Combing through the available evidence it is clear that the best way to describe the effects of massage therapy, is not in a single unified response. As the responses to massage therapy are multifactorial - physiological and psychological factors interplay in a complex manner.

In a contemporary approach the beneficial effects of massage therapy are best described as a collection of interconnected adaptive responses.

The biopsychosocial model of health and disease provides a practical paradigm for investigating the complex interplay between massage therapy and clinical outcomes.

Based off the biopsychosocial model, investigation into mechanisms of action should extend beyond local tissue changes and include peripheral and central endogenous pain modulation. An observed favorable outcome may be explained by a number of overlapping mechanism in the periphery, spinal cord, and brain, including but not limited to:

With massage therapy a favorable outcome can be explained by a number of overlapping mechanism in the periphery, spinal cord, and brain.


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