Massage Therapy: Styles of Massage and Their Health Benefits

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Massage has been practiced for thousands of years. Today, if you need or want a massage, you can choose from about 80 back pain. 

  • . Another type of pain — headache — also responds to massage therapy. Some studies suggest that massage therapy can reduce the number of a person has and also improve sleep.
  • Osteoarthritis. In the first clinical trial looking at the effectiveness of Swedish massage for knee osteoarthritis, participants who received a one-hour massage either one or two times a week had improvements in pain, stiffness, and function. The control group had no such change.
  • Cancer. Used as a complement to traditional, Western medicine, massage can promote relaxation and reduce cancer symptoms or side effects of treatment. It may help reduce pain, swelling, fatigue, , or depression, for example, or improve the function of your immune system. However, there are specific areas that a massage therapist should avoid in a cancer patient, as well as times when massage should be avoided altogether. Talk to your doctor before getting massage therapy if you have cancer.
  • Depression. A review of 17 clinical trials found that massage therapy may help reduce depression. But for generalized anxiety disorder, it was no more effective than providing a calming environment and deep breathing exercises.