by Nicole Berardoni M.D., Tory McJunkin M.D., and Paul Lynch M.D.

Massage Therapy For PainMassage therapy is a form of soft-tissue manipulation. Massages are not only part of spa treatment, but they may also be useful for many chronic pain conditions. Massages seem to help many medical conditions by relieving muscular tension, decreasing stress, decreasing anxiety, and decreasing muscle soreness. Massage may also stimulate your brain to release hormones which are natural pain killers called endorphins. Some believe massage can increase your immune systems functioning as well.

Conditions that may be effectively treated include:

  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Sports-related soreness
  • Traumatic injury
  • Labor pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Chronic muscle tension
  • Adolescent stress

Massage therapy focuses on decreasing overall muscle tension. This is usually accomplished by increasing the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) functioning and by decreasing the effects of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The PNS, also known as “Rest and Digest System,” slows the heart rate and lowers the blood pressure while increasing bowel motility. The PNS also helps to induce relaxation. The SNS, “Fight or Flight System,” has the opposite effects. It increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure, and is prominent under emotional and physical stress.

A health promotion program, including massage therapy, was conducted for a single academic school year in order to strengthen and maintain well-being.

Massage Active_releaseThe results showed that massage and mental training helped to maintain and improve adolescents sense of well-being related to stress (Haroldsson 2007). Another study, conducted on adults, showed that massage therapy enhances positive well-being and reduces stress perception (Sharpe 2007). It is believed that direct physical contact from one person to another may promote self-esteem and emotional support. People of all ages and with varying medical conditions can benefit from massage therapy.

At Arizona Pain Specialists we practice a balanced approach to pain management. We believe in holistic pain management and strive to combine cutting-edge interventions and alternative therapies that work. Schedule an appointment with Arizona Pain Specialists today to discuss a holistic plan that includes massage therapy. We are happy to offer this service as a pain management tool for patients in the Phoenix area.

At Arizona Pain, our goal is to relieve your pain and improve function to increase your quality of life.
Give us a call today at 480-563-6400.

Journal Articles

  1. Using complementary therapy with a hemodialysis patient with colon cancer and a sense of hopelessness. Yeh SC, Yeh HF. Hu Li Za Zhi. 2007 Oct;54(5):93-8
  2. Evaluation of a school-based health promotion programme for adolescents aged 12-15 years with focus on well-being related to stress. Haraldsson KS, Lindgren EC, Fridlund BG, Baigi AM, Lydell MC, Marklund BR. Public Health. 2007 Aug 23
  3. A randomised study of the effects of massage therapy compared to guided relaxation on well-being and stress perception among older adults. Sharpe PA, Williams HG, Granner ML, Hussey JR. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Sep;15(3):157-63. Epub 2007 Feb 20