You might think of a massage as a luxury. But can massage therapy actually pay for itself by reducing your medical bills?
There’s growing evidence that massage is a beneficial complement to medical treatments for certain chronic health conditions. Significant research is ongoing in this area, notes the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). While experts emphasize that the medical benefits of massage need more study, some research has shown evidence that massage therapy is effective in treating chronic health conditions that lead to billions of dollars in healthcare costs a year in America.
Ranging from back pain, migraines and fibromyalgia to anxiety and depression, chronic health conditions are costing Americans dearly in out-of-pocket medical expenses to seek relief at doctor’s offices, pharmacies and operating rooms. These are the types of conditions that massage can help with the most.
- According to NCCAM, a 2008 review of 13 clinical trials found evidence that massage may help relieve chronic low-back pain.
- The Mayo Clinic notes that some studies have found evidence that massage therapy is beneficial for anxiety and noted that ongoing sessions of massage therapy can reduce "trait anxiety" (general anxiety-proneness) — as well as improve symptoms of depression.
- According to The Mayo Clinic, some research has shown that massage decreases chronic pain in people suffering with fibromyalgia or migraines.
Massage is even being used to help make cancer treatment less traumatic and debilitating. Massage therapy has been shown to bring a 50 percent improvement in symptoms including anxiety, pain and fatigue among patients being treated for cancer, according to the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. And a study of more than 300 advanced-stage cancer patients in multiple hospice facilities found that massage may help relieve pain and boost mood for cancer patients.
Increase the benefits with regular massage treatments
Regular ongoing massage treatments can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year, notes the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals group. Getting a massage at consistent intervals is an investment in your health, and just because massage feels like pampering doesn’t make it any less therapeutic.
Think of massage appointments as one of your ongoing health and wellness habits that you do to prevent the costs, stress, pain, discomfort and upheaval associated with illness and disease.
More massage = Better health!