We’ve written about massage therapy’s effectiveness in helping reduce post-operative pain in breast cancer patients (click here), however, recent studies have shown that massage therapy’s pain-reducing properties are in no way limited to just breast cancer patients.
The Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies recently wrote that massage therapy has been shown to provide dramatic results in pain and anxiety reduction for post-operative pain associated with many different surgeries, especially heart surgery.
The institute cites a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, which provided patients undergoing heart surgery with massage therapy as a complement to their standard post-operative care. The patients who received massage therapy registered pain levels near the lowest levels possible (below one on a scale from one to 10), experiencing more than three time less pain than other patients who received no massage therapy following their surgeries.
Most strikingly, after conducting this study, the results led to the Mayo Clinic hiring a full-time massage therapist specifically to provide massage therapy to patients recovering from heart surgery.
Massage therapy’s effectiveness is not limited to heart surgery either. In a study conducted within the department of Veteran Affairs, patients who had undergone thoracic or abdominal surgery and received massage therapy as a post-operative treatment saw their levels of post-operatic pain intensity, unpleasantness, and anxiety decrease in the first four days after surgery. Coupled with their post-surgery medications, the group that received massage therapy fared the best out of every group in the study in reducing their levels of post-operative pain.
As the article notes, patient fears of dependency on painkillers and the actual side effects of pain killers have the potential to make massage therapy a part of post-operative care. The strong conclusions in the studies done by the Mayo Clinic and the department of Veteran Affairs should help in this regard.