People with chronic pain often turn to massage therapy to help naturally improve their quality of life. Notes Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida:
Most people go to massage therapists to reduce pain. There's a release of serotonin, which is the body's natural production of anti-pain chemicals. Additionally, an aggravating factor in pain syndromes can be a lack of deep, restorative sleep. Massage is very effective at increasing deep sleep. With more deep sleep, you have less pain.
Fibromyalgia and arthritis are two chronic pain syndromes that can be positively impacted by massage therapy. In a study of massage therapy for knee osteoarthritis, a group receiving massage therapy for the pain showed significant improvement in pain, stiffness and physical function. They increased their range of motion and reduced the time it took them to walk 50 feet.
In another study, conducted by the Touch Research Institute and funded by Massage Envy, people with arthritis in their wrist and hand reported less pain and greater grip strength after massage therapy. They also had lower anxiety and depressed mood scores.
For people looking to naturally manage their chronic pain, massage therapy can improve quality of life by impacting mood as well as manage the pain and other benefits. When you live with chronic pain, having a toolbox of strategies you turn to for pain relief is important. Massage can be a powerful tool for relaxing both mind and body.
Benefits of Managing Chronic Pain
- Increases serotonin, which reduces pain naturally
- Naturally increases deep sleep
- Increases range of motion
- Lowers anxiety and improves mood