It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that massage therapy can improve health and wellness through its effects on the physical, mental and social well-being of an individual.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” With this in mind, it would be appropriate to state that anything that positively impacts the physical, mental and social well-being of an individual as well as possibly decreasing incidence of disease would improve health.
“Quality of life has become a pre-eminent goal of rehabilitation and a key outcome measure in ascertaining the effectiveness of interventions and rehabilitation programs. Indeed, maintaining or enhancing quality of life is the ultimate goals [sic] of all health-care professional interventions.” Quality of life is regarded as a key determinant of overall health.
We are now starting to understand how greatly stress negatively impacts our lives, health, well-being and quality of life. Research has shown that massage therapy can have a positive influence with the issue of stress and improving quality of life.
Research is showing us that massage therapy can help in varying populations with:
• Boosting immune function
• Lowering blood pressure
• Heart rate
• Decreasing pain
• Range of motion
• Quality of sleep
There are some smaller studies indicating massage therapy can help those with dementia, and may improve body image.
Massage therapy helps with various health conditions including but not limited to: headaches, carpal tunnel, post-surgical recovery, burn recovery, fibromyalgia and minimizing side effects of anti-cancer treatments.
Massage addresses the issues in the WHO’s definition of health; it can aid in physical, mental, and social well-being; and it may help prevent disease by improving immune function and reducing stress.