The Greek physician, Hippocrates (460 to 377 B.C.) known as the father of modern medicine brought about a historical change in the field of massage. In ancient Greece and Rome it was actually the physician who utilized massage as one way to treat pain. Hippocrates stressed that massage be directed toward the center of the body or toward the heart, a technique which changed the way massage has been practiced for centuries.
However, despite the breadth of scientific research supporting massage, many medical professionals may not recommend massage to their patients. That evidently is all changing according to the latest survey from the American Hospital Association which reveals that the number of hospitals which now offer massage increased by more than 30% from 2004 to 2006. At the moment it is also rare to find a conventional medical school that does not offer courses in complementary, alternative or integrative medicine.
In many auto and work-place injuries, medical massage can be effectively used to treat soft tissue injuries such as sprains/strains, muscle spasm, swelling, tissue scarring, and all other muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries. Without massage therapy, injured tissue may develop scar tissue which can eventually limit range of motion. Massage therapy also enhances blood flow which expedites the healing process by bringing nutrient rich blood to damaged tissue.
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Massage enters the mainstream as evidence-based treatment
Massage is no longer just for pleasure. Research now shows conclusively that massage therapy coupled with physical therapy and appropriate exercise can effectively alleviate or reduce neck and back pain, improve function, and decrease anxiety. As well, it is increasingly being prescribed for patients with other types of pain and injury.
PT Hawaii has five licensed, experienced massage therapists who are skilled at treating a wide range of injuries. When prescribed by a physician, massage therapy is covered by worker’s compensation and no-fault insurance plans.
Medical massage can be helpful in treating the following conditions: cervical strain/sprain, thoracic outlet syndrome, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff injuries, lumbosacral strain/sprain, muscle spasms, carpal tunnel syndrome, epicondylitis, muscle spasm headaches and myofascial pain/trigger point release.
Furlan, A.D., L. Brosseau, M. Imamura, E. Irvin. 2002. Massage for low back pain. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Issue 2.
2 Preyde, Michele. 2000. Effectiveness of massage therapy for subacute low-back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 162: 1,815-1,820