This is a Position Statement from the American Massage therapy Association regarding massage therapy as a component of wellness programs.
Over the last five to ten years, the American public has become aware of the importance of health improvement and disease prevention. The concept of this trend has been coined as “wellness.” Wellness includes the elements of enhanced quality of life, and improved physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. A wellness program is a multidisciplinary approach to life.
There is much research that validates that massage therapy is an important component of a wellness program:
- Massage has been shown to increase range of motion and flexibility as well as to improve measures of anxiety, depression, vitality, and perceived stress.
- It can also increase feelings of wellness, calm, relaxation, and a sense of belonging.
- In a study of the effect of massage therapy on patients receiving Bone Marrow Transplants (BMT) it was concluded that those who received massage therapy had a better quality of life. These patients rested more easily, had less depression and anxiety and were more able to communicate with loved ones during this crucial treatment.
- Massage helps overcome the feelings of fatigue.
- Massage has positive side-effects in addition to those that affect the musculoskeletal system.
- Massage coupled with aromatherapy and music significantly reduced emergency room nurses’ anxiety levels.
- Adolescents had an increased sense of well-being after receiving massage.
- Massage increases a sense of well-being and decreases stress in older adults.
- Massage reduces nausea in chemotherapy patients.
- Caregiver[s] reported an improvement in physical and emotional states after chair massage.
- Massage in combination with mental training (in a stress management program) has a positive effect on women’s health.
According to the American Psychological Association:
- Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
- 75 to 90 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
- Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death – heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has declared stress a hazard of the workplace.
- It is logical that if stress is decreased, then wellness will increase. Massage has been shown to decrease stress; therefore massage will increase wellness and should be included in everyone’s health management plan.