Paul Manley Clinic London Massage Research


Leivadi, S., Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., O'Rourke, M., D'Arienzo, S., Lewis, D., del Pino, N., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C. (1999). Massage Therapy and Relaxation Effects on University Dance Students. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 3, 108-112.

METHODS: Thirty female university dancers were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or relaxation therapy group. The therapies consisted of 30-minute sessions twice a week for five weeks.

RESULTS: Both groups reported less depressed mood and lowered anxiety levels. However, saliva cortisol (stress hormones) decreased only for the massage therapy group. Both groups reported less neck, shoulder, and back pain after the treatment sessions and reduced back pain across the study. However, only the massage therapy group showed increased range of motion across the study, including neck extension and shoulder abduction.

Dental Pain

Ottoson, D., Ekblom, A., & Hansson, P. (1981). Vibratory stimulation for the relief of pain of dental origin. Pain ,10, 37-45.

METHODS: Vibratory stimulation was used for dental pain in 36 patients. The patients were from a clinic for dental surgery and all had suffered pain from pulpal inflammation, apoical periodontitis or postoperative pain following extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth for more than 2 days. Vibration at 100 Hz was applied to various points in the facial region or the skull.

RESULTS: All patients except three experienced an effective reduction in pain intensity. In the patients who experienced pain reduction there was usually a best point at which vibration had a greater pain alleviating effect than at other points. At some points the stimulation added to the pain. In 16 patients the stimulation caused a reduction in pain intensity of 75-100%; out of these, 12 patients reported a complete relief of pain.


Field, T., Morrow, C., Valdeon, C., Larson, S., Kuhn, C., & Schanberg, S.(1992). Massage reduces depression and anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric patients. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 31, 125-131.

METHODS: A 30-minute back massage was given daily for a 5-day period to 52 hospitalized depressed and adjustment disorder children and adolescents.

RESULTS: Compared with a control group who viewed relaxing videotapes, the massaged subjects were less depressed and anxious and had lower saliva cortisol levels after the massage. In addition, nurses rated the subjects as being less anxious and more cooperative on the last day of the study, and nighttime sleep increased over this period. Finally, urinary cortisol and norepinephrine levels decreased, but only for the depressed subjects.

Field, T., Grizzle, N., Scafidi, F., & Schanberg, S. (1996). Massage and relaxation therapies' effects on depressed adolescent mothers. Adolescence, 31, 903-911.

METHODS: Thirty-two depressed adolescent mothers received ten 30-minute sessions of massage therapy or relaxation therapy over a five-week period. Subjects were randomly assigned to each group.

RESULTS: Although both groups reported lower anxiety following their first and last therapy sessions, only the massage therapy group showed behavioral and stress hormone changes including a decrease in anxious behavior, pulse, and salivary cortisol levels. A decrease in urine cortisol levels suggested lower stress following the five-week period for the massage therapy group.

Onozawa, K., Glover, V., Adams, D., Modi, N., & Kumar, R.C. (2001). Infant massage improves mother-infant interaction for mothers with postnatal depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 63, 1-3.

METHODS: Thirty-four primiparous depressed mothers at 4 weeks postpartum were randomly assigned either to an infant massage class and a support group (massage group) or to a support group (control group). Each group attended five weekly sessions.

RESULTS: The depression scores fell in both groups. However, improvement of mother-infant interactions was seen only in the massage group.

Field, T., Deeds, O., Diego, M., Gualer, A., Sullivan, S., Wilson, D. & Nearing, G. (2009). Benefits of combining massage therapy with group interpersonal psychotherapy in prenatally depressed women. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 13, 297-303.

METHODS: Pregnant women who were diagnosed depressed were randomly assigned to a group who received group Interpersonal Psychotherapy or to a group who received both group Interpersonal Psychotherapy and massage therapy. The group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (1h sessions) and massage therapy (20 min sessions) were held once per week for 6 weeks.

RESULTS: The group who received psychotherapy plus massage attended more sessions on average, and a greater percentage of that group completed the 6-week program. The group who received both therapies also showed a greater decrease in depression, depressed affect and somatic-vegetative symptom scores on the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), a greater decrease in anxiety scale (STAI) scores and a greater decrease in cortisol levels.

Field, T., Diego, M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Deeds, O. & Figueiredo, B. (2009). Pregnancy massage reduces prematurity, low birthweight and postpartum depression. Infant Behavior and Development, 32, 454-460.

METHODS: Pregnant women diagnosed with major depression were given 12 weeks of twice per week massage therapy by their significant other or only standard treatment as a control group.

RESULTS: The massage therapy group women versus the control group women not only had reduced depression by the end of the therapy period, but they also had reduced depression and cortisol levels during the postpartum period. Their newborns were also less likely to be born prematurely and low birthweight, and they had lower cortisol levels and performed better on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment habituation, orientation and motor scales.

Oswalt, K.L., Biasini, F.J., Wilson, L.L. & Mrug, S. (2009). Outcomes of a massage intervention on teen mothers: A pilot study. Pediatric Nursing, 35, 284-289.

METHODS: Adolescent mothers were randomly assigned to an intervention group that practiced massage with their infants or a control group.

RESULTS: Teaching infant massage enhanced maternal-infant physical contact and lowered depression.

Hou, W.H., Chiang, P.T., Hsu, T.Y., Chiu, S.Y., & Yen. Y.C. (2010). Treatment effects of massage therapy in depressed people: a meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 71, 894-901.

METHODS: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of massage therapy in depressed people was conducted. RESULTS: 17 studies were included and all trials showed positive effect of massage therapy on depressed people.


Schachner, L., Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Duarte, A. & Krasnegor, J. (1998). Atopic dermatitis symptoms decreased in children following massage therapy. Pediatric Dermatology, 15, 390-395.

METHODS: Young children with atopic dermatitis were treated with standard topical care and massage by their parents for 20 minutes daily for a 1 month period. A control group received standard topical care only.

RESULTS: The children's affect and activity level significantly improved, and their parents' anxiety decreased immediately after the massage therapy sessions. Over the 1 month period, the parents of the massaged children reported lower anxiety levels in their children, and the children improved significantly on all clinical measures including redness, scaling, lichenification, excoriation, and pruritus. The control group only improved significantly on the scaling measure.

Anderson, C., Lis-Balchin, M., & Kirk-Smith, M. (2000). Evaluation of massage with essential oils on childhood atopic eczema. Phytotherapy Research, 14, 452-456.

METHODS: Eight children, born to professional working mothers were studied to test the hypothesis that massage with essential oils (aromatherapy) used as a complementary therapy in conjunction with normal medical treatment, would help alleviate the symptoms of childhood atopic eczema. The children were randomly assigned to a massage and a massage with essential oils group. They received massage once a week by a therapist and every day by the mother over a period of 8 weeks. The preferred essential oils, chosen by the mothers for their child, from 36 commonly used aromatherapy oils, were: sweet marjoram, frankinsence, German chamomile, myrrh, thyme, benzoin, spike lavender and Litsea cubeba. The treatments were evaluated by means of daily day time irritation scores and night time disturbance scores, determined by the mother before and during the treatment, both over an 8 week period.

RESULTS: The results showed a significant improvement in the eczema in the two groups of children following therapy, but there was no significant difference in improvement shown between the aromatherapy massage and massage only group. Further studies on the essential oil massage group showed a deterioration in the eczematous condition after two further 8 week periods of therapy, following a period of rest after the initial period of contact. This may have been due to a decline in the novelty of the treatment, or, it strongly suggests possible allergic contact dermatitis provoked by the essential oils themselves.


Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., LaGreca A., Shaw, K., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1997). Massage therapy lowers blood glucose levels in children with Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Spectrum ,10, 237-239.

METHODS: Twenty diabetic children were randomly assigned to a touch therapy or relaxation therapy group. The children's parents were taught one or the other therapy and were asked to provide them for 20 minutes before bedtime each night for 30 days.

RESULTS: The immediate effects of the touch therapy were reduced parent anxiety and depressed mood and reduced child anxiety, fidgetiness and depressed affect. Over the 30 day period compliance on insulin and food regulation improved and blood glucose levels decreased from 159 to within the normal range (121).


Jump, V.K. Fargo, J.D. & Akers, J. (2006). Impact of massage therapy on health outcomes among orphaned infants in Ecuador: Results of a randomized clinical trial. Family Community Health, 29, 314-319.
Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among infants and young children in the developing world. This project investigated whether therapeutic infant massage could reduce diarrheal episodes and decrease overall illness of infants.

METHODS: Infants living in 2 orphanages in Quito, Ecuador, were matched by age and randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a control group. Daily infant massage therapy was provided by orphanage staff or volunteers, which lasted an average of 53 days, and symptoms of illness data were documented daily by volunteers in the orphanages.

RESULTS: the control group infants had a 50% greater risk of having diarrhea than experimental infants. Control group infants were also 11% more likely than experimental infants to experience illness of any kind.

Downs Syndrome

Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Bornstein, J. & Fewell, R. (2006). Children with Down Syndrome improved in motor function and muscle tone following massage therapy. Journal of Early Child Development and Care, 176, 395-410.

METHODS: Twenty-one moderate to high functioning young children (M age = 2 years) with Down syndrome receiving early intervention (PT, OT and speech therapy) were randomly assigned to also receive two ½-hour massage therapy or reading sessions (control group) per week for two months. On the first and last day of the study, the children were assessed on functioning using the Developmental Programming for Infants and Young Children Scale and muscle tone using a new Likert scale.

RESULTS: Children in the massage therapy group experienced developmental gains in fine and gross motor functioning and showed less severe hypotonicity in their limbs. These findings suggest that the addition of massage therapy to an early intervention program may enhance motor and muscle functioning for children with Down syndrome.

Drug Addiction

Black, S., Jacques, K., Webber, A., Spurr, K., Carey, E., Hebb, A. & Gilbert, R. (2010). Chair massage for treating anxiety in patients withdrawing from psychoactive drugs. Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, 126, 979-987.

METHODS: Persons participating in an inpatient withdrawal management program for psychoactive drugs were randomly assigned to receive chair massage or a relaxation control condition. Treatments were offered for 3 consecutive days.

RESULTS: The magnitude in the reduction in state and trait anxiety was greater in the chair massage group where the effect on state anxiety was sustained, at least in part, for 24 hours.

Elderly persons

Sefton, J.M., Yarar, C., & Berry, J.W. (2012). Massage Therapy Produces Short-term Improvements in Balance, Neurological, and Cardiovascular Measures in Older Persons. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, 5,16-27.

METHODS: Older volunteers received a 60-minute full body therapeutic massage.

RESULTS: MT significantly decreased rectangular displacement area in both the eyes-open and eyes-closed, doubled-legged stance conditions; displacement velocity in both eyes-open conditions, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Quintino, O., Schanberg, S. & Kuhn, C. (1998). Elder retired volunteers benefit from giving massage therapy to infants. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 17, 229-239.

METHODS: This exploratory within-subjects study compared the effects of elder volunteers giving massage to infants versus receiving massage themselves. Three times a week for 3 weeks, 10 elder volunteers received massage sessions. For another 3 weeks, three times per week, the same elderly volunteers massaged infants at a nursery school.

RESULTS: Immediately after the first-and last-day sessions of giving massages, the elder retired volunteers had less anxiety and depression and lower stress hormone (salivary cortisol) levels. Over the 3-week period, depression and catecholamines (norepinephrine and epinephrine) decreased and lifestyle and health improved. These effects were not as strong for the 3-week period when they received massage, possibly because the elder retired volunteers initially felt awkward about being massaged and because they derived more satisfaction from massaging the infants.

Hartshorn, K., Delage, J., Field, T., & Olds, L. (2001). Senior citizens benefit from movement therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 5, 1-5.

METHODS: Sixteen senior citizens participated in four, 50-minute movement therapy sessions over a 2-week period and were compared to 16 senior citizens who belonged to a wait list control group who received the movement sessions only after the end of the study.

RESULTS: The movement therapy participants improved in their functional motion on the Tinetti scale, and specifically on the gait scale, their leg strength increased, and their leg pain significantly decreased.


Day, J. A., Mason, R. R., & Chesrown, S. E. (1987). Effect of massage on serum level of beta-endorphin and beta-lipotropin in healthy adults. Physical Therapy ,67, 926-930.

METHODS: The effect of massage was evaluated on the levels of endogenous opiates in peripheral venous blood. The results were based on findings from 21 healthy, adult volunteers. The volunteers were assigned randomly to either the Control Group (n = 11) that rested but received no massage or the Experimental Group (n = 10) that received a 30-minute complete back massage.

RESULTS: No significant pretreatment or posttreatment difference was found in blood beta-endorphin or beta-lipotropin levels between the groups. The results indicate that massage did not change the measured serum levels of beta-endorphin or beta-lipotropin in these healthy subjects without pain.

Enuresis (bed wetting)

Yuksek, M.S., Erdem, A.F., Atalay, C., & Demirel, A. (2003). Acupressure versus oxybutinin in the treatment of enuresis. The Journal of International Medical Research, 31, 552-556.

METHODS: The efficacy of acupressure for treating nocturnal enuresis was compared with oxybutinin. Acupressure was administered to 12 children by their parents, who had been taught the technique. Twelve control patients received oxybutinin. Parents were asked to record incidences of bed-wetting and patients and/or parents completed a questionnaire 15 days and 1, 3 and 6 months after the start of treatment.

RESULTS: Complete and partial responses after 6 months of treatment were seen in 83% and 16%, respectively, of children treated with acupressure, and in 58% and 33%, respectively, of children who received oxybutinin.


Rodenburg, J. B., Steenbeek, D., Schiereck, P., & Bar, P. R. (1994). Warm-up, stretching and massage diminish harmful effects of eccentric exercise. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 15, 414-419.

METHODS: The combination of a warm-up, stretching exercises and massage were assessed for their effects on subjective scores for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and functional and biochemical measures. Fifty people, randomly assigned to a treatment and a control group, exercised with the forearm flexors for 30 min. The treatment group also performed a warm-up and stretching protocol followed by forearm exercise and massage.

RESULTS: The median values at the five post-exercise time points differed significantly for DOMS measured when the arm was extended. Significant effects for treatment were found on the maximal force, the flexion angle of the elbow and the creatine kinase activity in blood.

Smith, L. L., Keating, M. N., Holbert, D., Spratt, D. J., McCammon, M. R., Smith, S. S., and Israel, R. G. (1994). The effects of athletic massage on delayed onset muscle soreness, creatine kinase, and neutrophil count: A preliminary report. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 19, 93-99.

METHODS: It was hypothesized that athletic massage administered 2 hours after eccentric exercise would disrupt an initial crucial event in acute inflammation, the accumulation of neutrophils. This would result in a diminished inflammatory response and a concomitant reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and serum creatine kinase (CK). Untrained males were randomly assigned to a massage or control group. All performed five sets of isokinetic eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors and extensors. Two hours after exercise, massage subjects received a 30-minute athletic massage; control subjects rested. Delayed onset muscle soreness and CK were assessed before exercise and at 8, 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hours after exercise. Circulating neutrophils were assessed before and immediately after exercise, and at 30-minute intervals for 8 hours; cortisol was assessed before and immediately after exercise, and at 30-minute intervals for 8 hours; CK was assessed at similar times.

RESULTS: A trend analysis revealed a significant treatment by time interaction effect for 1) DOMS, with the massage group reporting reduced levels; 2) CK, with the massage group displaying reduced levels; 3) neutrophils, with the massage group displaying a prolonged elevation; and 4) cortisol, with the massage group showing a diminished diurnal reduction. The results of this study suggest that sports massage will reduce DOMS and CK when administered 2 hours after the termination of eccentric exercise. This may be due to a reduced emigration of neutrophils and/or higher levels of serum cortisol.

Rinder, A.N. & Sutherland, C.J. (1995). An investigation of the effects of massage on quadriceps performance after exercise fatigue. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery, 1, 99-102.

METHODS: Thirteen males and 7 females completed their maximum number of leg extensions against a half maximum load. In a randomised, crossover study they were exercised to fatigue using an ergonometer, ski-squats and leg extensions followed either by a 6 min massage or rest after which they again completed their maximum number of leg extensions against half maximum load. The process was repeated a few days later with the alternative condition (rest or massage).

RESULTS: Massage after exercise fatigue significantly improved quadriceps performance compared to rest.

Viitasalo, J. T., Niemela, K., Kaappola, R., Korjus, T., Levola, M., Mononen, H. V., Rusko, H. K., and Takala, T. E. (1995). Warm underwater water-jet massage improves recovery from intense physical exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology & Occupational Physiology, 71, 431-438.

METHODS: The effects of warm underwater water-jet massage on neuromuscular functioning, selected biochemical parameters (serum creatine kinase, lactic dehydrogenase, serum carbonic anhydrase, myoglobin, urine urea and creatinine) and muscle soreness were studied among 14 junior track and field athletes. Each subject spent, in a randomized order, two identical training weeks engaged in five strength/power training sessions lasting 3 days.

RESULTS: The training weeks differed from each other only in respect to underwater water-jet massage treatments. These were used three times (20 min each) during the treatment week and not used during the control week. During the treatment week continuous jumping power decreased and ground contact time increased significantly less (P < 0.05) and serum myoglobin increased more than during the control week. It is suggested that underwater water-jet massage in connection with intense strength/power training increases the release of proteins from muscle tissue into the blood and enhances the maintenance of neuro-muscular performance capacity.

Hemmings, B., Smith, M., Graydon, J. & Dyson, R. (2000). Effects of massage on physiological restoration, perceived recovery, and repeated sports performance. Br J Sports Med, 34, 109-14.

METHODS: Eight amateur boxers completed two performances on a boxing ergometer on two occasions in a counterbalanced design. Boxers initially completed performance 1, after which they received a massage or passive rest intervention. Each boxer then gave perceived recovery ratings before completing a second performance, which was a repeated simulation of the first. Heart rates and blood lactate and glucose levels were also assessed before, during, and after all performances.

RESULTS: A repeated measures analysis of variance showed no significant group differences for either performance, although a main effect was found showing a decrement in punching force from performance 1 to performance 2 . The massage intervention significantly increased perceptions of recovery compared with the passive rest intervention. Blood lactate concentration after the second performance was significantly higher following massage.

Drust, B., Atkinson, G., Gregson, W., French, D. & Binningsley, D. (2003). The effects of massage on intra muscular temperature in the vastus lateralis in humans. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 24, 395-399.

METHODS: The aim of the current investigation was to evaluate the effect of different durations of massage, and ultrasound treatment, on the temperature of the vastus lateralis muscle in males. Deep effleurage massage of the vastus lateralis was performed on seven healthy males for 5, 10 and 15 min periods. A 5-min period of ultrasound at 45 KHz was also completed by all subjects. Intra muscular temperature (at 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 cm) and thigh skin temperature were assessed pre and post treatment. Heart rate was monitored continuously throughout all conditions.

RESULTS: Pre treatment intra muscular temperature increased as depth of measurement increased. Changes in muscle temperature at 1.5 and 2.5 cm were significantly greater following massage than ultrasound. No significant differences between massage treatments and ultrasound were noted when intra muscular temperature was measured at 3.5 cm. Massage also significantly increased both heart rate and thigh skin temperature compared to ultrasound. Increases in intra muscular temperature, heart rate and thigh skin temperature were the same irrespective of massage duration. These data suggest that massage and ultrasound have only limited effects on deep muscle temperature.

Hilbert, J.E., Sforzo, G.A. & Swensen, T. (2003). The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness. Br J Sports Med, 37, 72-5.

METHODS: Eighteen volunteers were randomly assigned to either a massage or control group. Delayed onset muscle soreness was induced with six sets of eight maximal eccentric contractions of the right hamstring, which were followed 2 h later by 20 min of massage or sham massage (control). Peak torque and mood were assessed at 2, 6, 24, and 48 h postexercise. Range of motion (ROM) and intensity and unpleasantness of soreness were assessed at 6, 24, and 48 h postexercise. Neutrophil count was assessed at 6 and 24 h postexercise.

RESULTS: Intensity of soreness was significantly lower in the massage group relative to the control group at 48 h postexercise.

Mori, H., Ohsawa, H., Tanaka, T.H., Taniwaki, E., Leisman, G. & Nishijo, K. (2004). Effect of massage on blood flow and muscle fatigue following isometric lumbar exercise. Med Sci Monit, 10, 173-8.

METHODS: Twenty-nine healthy male subjects participated in two experimental sessions (massage and rest conditions). Subjects lay prone on the table and were instructed to extend their trunks until the inferior portion of their rib cage no longer rested on the table. Subjects held this position for 90 seconds (Load I). Subjects then either received massage on the lumbar region or rested for 5 minutes, then repeated the same load (Load II). Skin blood flow (SBF), muscle blood volume (MBV), skin temperature (ST), and subjects' subjective feelings of fatigue were evaluated using Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).

RESULTS: An increase of MBV between pre- and post-load II periods was higher after massage than after rest. An increase of SBF at pre- and post-load II was observed only under massage condition. An increase of SBF between post-load I and pre-load II periods was higher after massage than after rest. An increase of ST between post-load I and post-load II periods was greater after massage than after rest. The VAS score was lower with massage than with rest in the post-treatment period.

Robertson, A., Watt, J.M. & Galloway, S.D. (2004). Effects of leg massage on recovery from high intensity cycling exercise. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 4, 173-176.

METHODS: Nine male games players participated. They attended the laboratory on two occasions one week apart and at the same time of day. Dietary intake and activity were replicated for the two preceding days on each occasion. After baseline measurement of heart rate and blood lactate concentration, subjects performed a standardised warm up on the cycle ergometer. This was followed by six standardised 30 second high intensity exercise bouts, interspersed with 30 seconds of active recovery. After five minutes of active recovery and either 20 minutes of leg massage or supine passive rest, subjects performed a second standardised warm up and a 30 second Wingate test. Capillary blood samples were drawn at intervals, and heart rate, peak power, mean power, and fatigue index were recorded.

RESULTS: Significantly lower fatigue index was observed in the massage trial.

Brooks, C.P., Woodruff, L.D., Wright, L.L. & Donatelli, R. (2005). The immediate effects of manual massage on power-grip performance after maximal exercise in healthy adults. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11, 1093-101.

METHODS: This study assessed the effects of using manual massage to improve power-grip performance immediately after maximal exercise in healthy adults. Fifty-two volunteer massage-school clients, staff, faculty, and students participated. Subjects randomly received either a 5-minute forearm/hand massage of effleurage and friction (to either the dominant hand or nondominant hand side), 5 minutes of passive shoulder and elbow range of motion, or 5 minutes of nonintervention rest.

RESULTS: After 3 minutes of isometric exercise, power grip was consistently fatigued to at least 60% of baseline, with recovery occurring over the next 5 minutes. Massage had a greater effect than no massage or than placebo on grip performance after fatigue, especially in the nondominant-hand group.

Zainuddin, Z., Newton, M., Sacco, P. & Nosaka, K. (2005). Effects of massage on delayed-onset muscle soreness, swelling, and recovery of muscle function. J Athl Train, 40, 174-80.

METHODS: This study tested the hypothesis that massage applied after eccentric exercise would effectively alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) without affecting muscle function. We used an arm-to-arm comparison model with 2 independent variables (control and massage) and 6 dependent variables (maximal isometric and isokinetic voluntary strength, range of motion, upper arm circumference, plasma creatine kinase activity, and muscle soreness). A 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance and paired t-tests were used to examine differences in changes of the dependent variable over time between control and massage conditions. Ten healthy subjects with no history of upper arm injury and no experience in resistance training, performed 10 sets of 6 maximal isokinetic eccentric actions of the elbow flexors with each arm on a dynamometer, separated by 2 weeks. One arm received 10 minutes of massage 3 hours after eccentric exercise; the contralateral arm received no treatment.

RESULTS: Delayed-onset muscle soreness was significantly less for the massage condition for peak soreness in extending the elbow joint and palpating the brachioradialis muscle. Soreness while flexing the elbow joint and palpating the brachialis muscle was also less with massage. Massage treatment had significant effects on plasma creatine kinase activity, with a significantly lower peak value at 4 days postexercise , and upper arm circumference, with a significantly smaller increase than the control at 3 and 4 days postexercise.

Facial Massage

Yamada, Y., Hatayama, T., Hirata, T., Maruyama, K., et al.(1986). A psychological effect of facial estherapy. Tohoku Psychologica Folia, 45, 6-16.

METHODS: Changes in emotion, level of arousal, and facial skin state were assessed in 24 female undergraduates by the use of 3 types of checklists.

RESULTS: Two adjective checklists indicated that on items of both general deactivation and deactivation-sleep factors, many subjective rating scores were heightened after the facial esthetic massage and most subjects in the experimental group showed that the subjective state of their faces was much improved.


Sunshine, W., Field, T., Schanberg, S., Quintino, O., Kilmer, T., Fierro, K., Burman, I., Hashimoto, M., McBride, C., & Henteleff, T. (1996). Massage therapy and transcutaneous electrical stimulation effects on fibromyalgia. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2, 18-22.

METHODS: Thirty adult fibromyalgia syndrome subjects were randomly assigned to a massage therapy, a transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), or a transcutaneous electrical stimulation no-current group (Sham TENS) for 30-minute treatment sessions two times per week for 5 weeks.

RESULTS: The massage therapy subjects reported lower anxiety and depression, and their cortisol levels were lower immediately after the therapy sessions on the first and last days of the study. The TENS group showed similar changes, but only after therapy on the last day of the study. The massage therapy group improved on the dolorimeter measure of pain. They also reported less pain the last week, less stiffness and fatigue, and fewer nights of difficult sleeping. Thus, massage therapy was the most effective therapy with these fibromyalgia patients.

Field, T., Diego, M., Cullen, C., Hernandez-Reif, M., & Sunshine, W. (2002). Fibromyalgia pain and substance P decreases and sleep improves following massage therapy. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 8, 72-76.

METHODS: To determine the effects of massage therapy versus relaxation therapy on sleep, substance P and pain in fibromyalgia patients, twenty four adult fibromyalgia patients were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or relaxation therapy group. They received 30-minute treatments twice a week for five weeks.

RESULTS: Both groups showed a decrease in anxiety and depressed mood immediately after the first and last therapy sessions. However, across the course of the study only the massage therapy group reported an increase in the number of sleep hours and a decrease in their sleep movements. In addition, substance P levels decreased and the patients' physicians assigned lower disease and pain ratings and rated fewer tenderpoints in the massage therapy group.

Gastrointestinal Motility

Chen, L.L., Hsu, S.F., Wang, M.H., Chen, C.L., Lin, Y.D., & Lai, J.S. (2003). Use of acupressure to improve gastrointestinal motility in women after trans-abdominal hysterectomy. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 31, 781-790.

METHODS: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of acupressure on gastrointestinal (GI) motility in women after trans-abdominal hysterectomy (TAH). Patients were randomly assigned into two groups of 21 and 20 patients each. The experimental group received acupressure for 3 minutes at each of three meridian points. The control group received 3 minutes of acupressure on sham points. Acupressure was performed twice a day. A questionnaire was used to determine patients' satisfaction prior to and after afternoon acupressure. GI contractions were measured with a multifunctional stethoscope before and after acupressure.

RESULTS: Acupressure of these three meridian points significantly increased GI motility in the experimental group, but there was little change in the control group.

Diego MA, Field T, Hernandez-Reif M. (2005).Vagal activity, gastric motility, and weight gain in massaged preterm neonates. Journal of Pediatrics, 147, 50-55

METHODS: The present randomized study explored this potential underlying mechanism by assessing gastric motility and sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity in response to massage therapy (moderate pressure) versus sham massage (light pressure) and control conditions in a group of preterm neonates.

RESULTS: Compared with preterm neonates receiving sham massage, preterm neonates receiving massage therapy exhibited greater weight gain and increased vagal tone and gastric motility during and immediately after treatment. Gastric motility and vagal tone during massage therapy were significantly related to weight gain.


Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Dieter, J., Swerdlow. & Diego, M., (1998). Migraine Headaches are Reduced by Massage Therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 96, 1-11.

METHODS: Twenty-six adults with migraine headaches were randomly assigned to a massage therapy group, which received twice-weekly 30-minute massages for five consecutive weeks or a wait-list control group.

RESULTS: The massage group reported fewer distress symptoms, less pain, more headache free days, fewer sleep disturbances and taking fewer analgesics. They also showed increased serotonin levels.

Moraska, A. & Chandler, C. (2009). Changes in Psychological Parameters in Patients with Tension-type Headache Following Massage Therapy: A Pilot Study. The Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy, 17, 86-94.

METHODS: Adults with episodic or chronic tension-type headaches received massage therapy.

RESULTS: After 6 weeks the massage therapy group showed less depression and anxiety.

Quinn, C., Chandler, C., & Moraska, A. (2002). Massage therapy and frequency of chronic tension headaches. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 1657-1661.

METHODS: This study examined the effects of massage therapy on chronic, nonmigraine headache. Four chronic tension headache sufferers (aged 18-55 yrs) received structured massage therapy treatment directed toward the neck and shoulder muscles during a 4-wk period.

RESULTS: Massage therapy reduced the number of weekly headaches. Headache frequency was significantly reduced within the initial week of massage treatment, and continued for the remainder of the study. A trend toward reduction in average duration of each headache event between the baseline period and the treatment period was also observed.

Foster, K.A., Liskin, J., Cen, S., Abbott, A., Armisen, V., Globe, D., Knox, L., Mitchell, M., Shtir, C., & Azen, S. (2004). The Trager approach in the treatment of chronic headache: A pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health Medicine, 10, 40-46.

METHODS: Thirty-three volunteers with a self-reported history of chronic headache and with at least one headache per week for at least 6 months received Trager massage.

RESULTS: Participants randomized to Trager massage demonstrated a significant decrease in the frequency of headaches, improvement in head quality of life and a 44% decrease in medication usage.

Moraska, A., Chandler, C. (2009). Changes in Psychological Parameters in Patients with Tension-type Headache Following Massage Therapy: A Pilot Study. The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 17, 86-94

METHODS: Twice weekly, 45-minute massages were given to patients with tension headaches for 6 weeks.

RESULTS: Depression and anxiety decreased following 6 weeks of massage, but not 3 weeks


Poland, R.E., Gertsik, L., Favreau, J.T., Smith, S.I., Mirocha, J.M., Rao, U., & Daar, E.S. (2012). Open-Label, Randomized, Parallel-Group Controlled Clinical Trial of Massage for Treatment of Depression in HIV-Infected Subjects. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

METHODS: Swedish massage and touch subjects visited the massage therapist for 1 hour twice per week. The touch group had a massage therapist place both hands on the subject with slight pressure, but no massage.

RESULTS: Massage significantly reduced the severity of depression beginning at week 4 in subjects with HIV disease.

Ironson, G., Field, T., Scafidi, F., Hashimoto, M., Kumar, M., Kumar, A., Price, A., Goncalves, A., Burman, I., Tetenman, C., Patarca, R., & Fletcher, M. A. (1996). Massage therapy is associated with enhancement of the immune system's cytotoxic capacity. International Journal of Neuroscience, 84, 205-217.

METHODS: Twenty-nine gay men (20 HIV+, 9 HIV-) received daily massages for one month. A subset of 11 of the HIV+ subjects served as a within subjects control group (one month with and without massages).

RESULTS: Major immune findings for the effects of the month of massage included a significant increase in Natural Killer Cell number, Natural Killer Cell Activity, and CD8. No changes occurred in HIV disease progression markers. Neuroendocrine findings measured via 24 hour urine sample included a decrease in cortisol and trends toward decreased catecholamines. Decreased anxiety and increased relaxation were significantly correlated with increased NK cell number.

Scafidi, F. & Field, T. (1996). Massage therapy improves behavior in neonates born to HIV positive mothers. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 21, 889-898.

METHODS: Neonates born to HIV-positive mothers were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or control group. The treatment infants were given three 15-minute massages daily for 10 days.

RESULTS: The massaged group showed superior performance on almost every Brazelton newborn cluster score and had a greater daily weight gain at the end of the treatment period unlike the control group who showed declining performance.

Diego, M.A., Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Friedman, L. & Shaw, K. (2001). HIV adolescents show improved immune function following massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 35-45.

METHODS: HIV+ adolescents (M CD4= 466mm3) recruited from a large urban university hospital’s outpatient clinic were randomly assigned to receive massage therapy (n= 12) or progressive muscle relaxation (n= 12) two-times per week for 12 weeks. To assess treatment effects, participants were assessed for depression, anxiety and immune changes before and after the 12 week treatment period.

RESULTS: Adolescents who received massage therapy versus those who experienced relaxation therapy reported feeling less anxious and they were less depressed and showed enhanced immune function by the end of the 12 week study. Immune changes included increased Natural Killer cell number.In addition, the HIV disease progression markers CD4/CD8 ratio and CD4 number increased for the massage therapy group only.