That's because a growing body of evidence suggests muscle therapy provides a long and varied list of health benefits. In fact, more people get their muscles kneaded and rubbed for medical purposes than they do for relaxation or pampering, according to a recent survey. You know massage helps reduce stress and tension; here are some more potential benefits, based on research compiled by the American Massage Therapy Association:
Relieve chronic low-back pain.
Nearly everyone at some point has back pain that interferes with work and daily activities; if it lasts more than three months, it's considered chronic. One study showed people with long-lasting low-back pain who got a one-hour Swedish or structural massage once a week for 10 weeks felt and functioned significantly better and faster than those who received standard medical care; they also used less over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. Other research found massage helps with osteoarthritis of the knee pain, fibromyalgia and nerve pain, among others.