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Massage is shown to be effective by Group Health study!

Group Health is surprised that their study shows massage really does take the pain away. At least they were smart enough not hide the findings.

The most surprising thing about the story that I am about to share with you is that the study was conducted by Group HealthGroup Health has shown that it believes that massage therapy is not effective.  I say this because Group Health only started paying for massages after it was forced to through a class action law suit that was brought against it several years ago. And even then many of their patients found that Group Health would cut off their benefit just as they were starting to find the much needed relief that they had been looking for. I would even goes as far as to say that I believe Group Health set up the study with hopes of coming up with data to allow them to stop paying for massage. It is also my opinion that they selected people for the study who they believed would have the smallest chance for  improvement.  So these findings are very exciting considering Group Health's history of bias against massage therapy. 

Below you will find the Technical Excerpts of an article written 

by Roberto Daza,

Seattle Times staff reporter

A new study reinforced what physical therapist and massage therapist have long suspected: Massage, when coupled with traditional medical treatment, provides significant relief from chronic back pain. The 400-person study was conducted by Seattle's Group Health Research Institute.


The 10-week trial was for those with chronic back pain that had no identifiable cause. The participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatments: pressure-point massage, relaxation massage or usual care — what they would have received anyway, most often medication.

At 10 weeks, more than one in three patients who received massages said their back pain had lessened or ceased. By comparison, one in 25 patients who got usual care reported improvements.

"For people who've tried more conventional treatment with no results, massage is a reasonable thing to try," said Daniel Cherkin, leader of the study and an investigator at Group Health Research Institute, whose research has shown that massage is as effective in relieving chronic back pain as other treatments such as yoga, exercise and medication.

The study also found that after six months massage recipients still reported pain relief. After one year, reported benefits were no longer significant.

The one surprising finding was that both massage types were found to be equally effective. Pressure-point massage, which targets injured ligaments and muscle, is often more expensive and requires additional training, while relaxation massage, the most common form of massage, focuses on promoting a feeling of relaxation throughout the body.

One in six American adults had a massage in the past year — 25 million more Americans than 10 years ago, according to an annual survey by American Massage Therapy Association.

70 to 85 percent of Americans experience back pain at some time in their lives, and it is the most frequent cause of limited activity in people under 45, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Daniel Cherkin, leader of the study and an investigator at Group Health Research Institute said The findings suggest that massage therapy provided greater relief of back pain when compared to conventional approaches alone. Massage recipients spent fewer days in bed, were more active and took fewer medications. Research suggests massage stimulates injured tissue and calms the central nervous system”

I’m not surprised that even Group Health couldn’t come up with a study to disprove massage effectiveness. 

Written by Peter Spairring

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