Tanja Barnes

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Wall Street Journal: Studies prove massage therapy to have medical benefits

While it’s common to think of massage therapy as just a mere a luxury, recently the Wall Street Journal touted the medical benefits of massage in an article published earlier this week entitled Don’t Call It Pampering: Massage Wants to Be Medicine.

The article and accompanying video (above) posted on WSJ’s Market Watch stated that massage is growing in popularity among U.S. consumers despite the economy due to studies indicating it has scientifically measured medical benefits including reducing cortisol, decreasing proteins related to inflammation, increasing white blood cell count and promoting muscle recovery.

“Research over the past couple of years has found that massage therapy boosts immune function in women with breast cancer, improves symptoms in children with asthma, and increases grip strength in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome,” stated the article. “Giving massages to the littlest patients, premature babies, helped in the crucial task of gaining weight.”

It’s great to see new research supporting the benefits my humble vocation, however I feel the article completely ignores Western medical studies that has been out for well over 100 years (see my comment to the WSJ article here), and the empirical evidence of the benefits of massage that have been documented since the beginning of history from almost every culture on the planet.

Also, the article’s position that massage is a wanna-be medical modality is somewhat disappointing to me since throughout history massage therapy has always been used as an adjunct to coordinated medical care.

After all, it was the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460 to 377 BC), who is considered to be ‘the father of Western medicine’, that once said “anyone wishing to study medicine must master the art of massage.”

To learn more about the benefits of massage therapy, I invite you to download free informational PDFs about it from my website here.