Today, the most common question asked about massage therapy is, “Will it help my health and well-being?” The short answer is— Yes!  However, a far more important question which should be considered is, “Will it help me with my particular condition?”

Early writings on massage originated from many ancient civilizations… China, Japan, Roman, Greek, India, Egypt and many other cultures.   The Scholar Hippocrates wrote, in 460 BC, that “The physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly in rubbing”.  An ancient Chinese book called “Huangdi Neijing, recommended “massage of skin and flesh”.
Massage therapy relaxes muscle tissue, which may lead to decreased nerve compression, increased joint space, and range of motion and can assist in reducing pain.  It also improves circulation, enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells, which helps to remove built-up waste products. Massage also induces relaxation, helping to lower the heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure; boosting the immune system; and generally eliminates or decreases physical and emotional stress. The combination of these improved effects have great value to the body’s health and well-being and are helpful for a wide range of conditions.  Some being:
Decreases pain and increases functioning in these conditions:    Helps treat and manage symptoms or complications of:    Other psychological,  emotional, and physical benefits:
•    Carpal tunnel
•    Sciatica
•    Tension headaches
•    Scoliosis
•    Torticollis
•    Tendon and muscle tears
•    Thoracic outlet syndrome
•    Varicose veins
•    Pregnancy-related pain and other discomfort
•    Myofascial pain
•    Sore or overexerted muscles
•    Muscle injury (offers rehabilitation)
•    Gout
•    Migraine and Cluster headaches
•    Rheumatoid arthritis
•    Osteoarthritis
•    Muscular dystrophies
•    Raynaud’s Disease
•    Diabetes
•    Hypertension and congestive heart failure
•    Reduces risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases  
•    Improved mood
•    Reduced anxiety
•    Lower stress levels
•    Lessening of depression
•    Reduced anger and aggression
•    Improved sleep patterns and decreased sleep disturbance
•    Reduced fatigue
•    Enhances immune system
•    Improves athletic performance and enhances recovery
Note: Massage therapy should never be used as a substitute for regular medical care or diagnostic purposes.  If you are under a doctor’s care, you should follow the medical plan and treatment which has been prescribed for you.

Check out our guide to finding a therapist.

Expert Contributor: Wendy Chen, former Registered Nurse for 17 years and owner of Wendy’s Massage
Wikipedia – Historical
Time Magazine – “Post-Op Rx: Get a Massage”
Beth Burgan, Asst. Professor and MA, MFA – Article (in part)
‘American Medical Association’s ‘Archives of Surgery’ – December 2007