21 March 2019

By Danae Mercer

What Science is Saying About Massages

Let’s talk massage. I’m a huge fan of them (as in, I’d get one every day if I could). And while I’d love to go on for ages about how much I enjoy the darn things, I want to focus instead on a little bit of science and a whole lot of interesting stats.

Now if you enjoy stats and want to get into some data? Read on.

The ways massages are good for you:

  • They help with back pain: a 2011 study compared 400 people with lower back pain. Half the group received hour-long massages weekly for 10 weeks. At the end of the test, nearly 40 per cent said their pain was better or gone. As for the control group, where volunteers were treated with anti-inflammatory medicines, only four per cent said the same.
  • Massages calm us down: a study by DePauw University psychologist Matthew Hertenstein looked at the power of touch. He had volunteers attempt to express an emotion to a blindfolded stranger through touch. The success rate was an impressive 78 per cent. With massages, this means if your therapist is calm and soothing, you might just feel the effects too.
  • They can reduce pain: the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine cites over 100 studies relating to touch that show reduced pain, improved immune systems and more.
  • Massages are great for sports: sports massages can help reduce inflammation, speed up recovery and alleviate fatigue. Five full-length articles even researched how massage helped with delayed onset muscle soreness (aka DOMs), and showed it was absolutely beneficial.
  • They’re good for our moods: massage releases feel-good chemicals into our bodies, like endorphins and serotonin. Scientists at the University of Miami looked into how massage impacted 37 women with breast cancer. A proportion of these women received massage therapy. Afterwards, they reported feeling less depressed and less angry.

Basically, researchers have started to scientifically prove the power of massage and here’s the long and short of it: massages are good for us. They make us happy. They heal us faster and they’re something we all should be doing, if only as a way to show ourselves a little bit of self-love.