Most people, especially readers of this Blog, know that massage therapy can be a soothing complementary treatment to medical conditions such as cancer and asthma. New research is showing that massage therapy can help burn patients as well, a conclusion that backs up similar research done from the past decade.
First, the newest research comes from the May/June issue of the Journal of Burn Care & Research, which shows that massage therapy helps reduce pain, itching, and anxiety among adolescent burn patients. Burns, and the severe itching that accompanies them, can cause extreme psychological damage, and, again, massage therapy was shown to be effective in reducing pain, itching, and anxiety levels in 63 adolescents over the course of the five-week study.
The Touch Research Institute points out other studies dating back to 1998 that back up this newest study. Indeed, according to the studies from TRI, massage therapy has been shown to reduce cortisol and anxiety levels in adult burn patients, and reduce itching, pain, and anxiety levels among adults with burn injuries.
This leads me to ponder the same contradiction as the authors from the newest study in the Journal of Burn Care & Research: While in “most cultures, massage treatments are used to alleviate a wide range of symptoms” these treatments are not yet common in the medical field, despite the fact that “health professionals agree on the use of nonpharmacologic methods for patients with burns”.
Hopefully, with more research, massage therapy will be used to help burn patients, and patients with other conditions for which massage therapy has been shown to be an effective, non-invasive complementary treatment.