The words massage and therapy seem to go together more and more the more one researches the therapeutic benefits of massage.
The latest medical benefit we’ve found that massage therapy provides is an improvement in the health of children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia (also called sickle cell disease – SCD). I’ve included a link to the abstract of the study that demonstrated the improvement in health; unfortunately you need a subscription to the Journal of Pediatric Psychology in order to read the entire study.
The results of the study tell a story similar to other studies that demonstrate massage therapy’s medicinal benefits (see our other entries on post-surgery pain and autism and asthma, among others). In this particular study, a group of children with SCD received massage therapy from their parents for a period of four weeks. After that time, the children and adolescents receiving massage therapy recorded lower levels of depression, anxiety, and pain. This led to the study’s conclusion that the “results offer preliminary support for parent-delivered massage therapy as an intervention for SCD pain.”
More and more it seems that Hippocrates was right when he said that a skilled physician “must be experienced in many things, but assuredly rubbing”. Massage therapy’s place as a complementary medical treatment seems strong indeed.