At Wits End Wellness Centre Inc.

The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine is the foremost authority on scientific studies of touch and massage. They officially started in 1992, building on research that began in 1982, via a start-up grant from Johnson & Johnson, Inc. Here are some excerpts from their studies:

Aggression - Following a month of two chair massages per week, the massaged adolescents became less aggressive. Diego, M., Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Shaw, J., Rothe, E., Castellanos, D., & Mesner, L. (2002). Aggressive adolescents benefit from massage therapy. Adolescence, 37, 597-607.

Arthritis - Children with mild to moderate juvenile rheumatoid arthritis were massaged by their parents 15 minutes a day for 30 days (and a control group engaged in relaxation therapy). The children’s anxiety and stress hormone (cortisol) levels were immediately decreased by the massage, and over the 30-day period their pain decreased on self-reports, parent reports, and their physician’s reports. Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Seligman, S., Krasnegor, J. & Sunshine, W. (1997). Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: Benefits from massage therapy. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 22, 607-617.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Adolescents with ADHD rated themselves as happier and were observed to fidget less after massage sessions. Also, teachers rated adolescents receiving massage as less hyperactive and as spending more time on-task. Field, T., Quintino, O. & Hernandez-Reif, M., & Koslovsky, G. (1998). Adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder benefit from massage therapy. Adolescence, 33,103-108.

Breast Cancer - Massage therapy reduced anxiety and depression and improved immune function including increased natural killer cell number in women with breast cancer. Hernandez-Reif, M., Ironsor, G., Field, T., Hurley, J., Katz, G., Diego, M., Weiss, S., Fletcher, MA., Shanberg, S and Kuhn, C. (2003) Breast cancer patients have improve immune and neuroendocrine function following massage therapy.Journal of Psychosomatic Reseach, 57,45-52.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Immediately following massage therapy, depressed mood, anxiety and stress hormone (cortisol) levels were reduced. Following 10 days of massage therapy, fatigue related symptoms, particularly anxiety and somatic symptoms, were reduced, as were depression, difficulty sleeping and pain. Stress hormone (cortisol) also decreased and dopamine increased. Field, T, Sunshine, W., Hernandez-Reif, M., Quintino, O., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C., & Burman, I. (1997). Chronic fatigue syndrome: Massage therapy effects on depression and somatic symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 3, 43-51.

Dancers - Massage therapy improved range of motion, mood, and performance (including balance and posture) and decreased stress hormone (cortisol) after one month of twice weekly massage therapy. Leivadi, S., Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., O'Rourke, M., D'Arienzo, S., Lewis, D., Del Pino, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1999). Massage therapy and relaxation effects on university dance students. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 3, 108-112.

Diabetes - Following one month of parents massaging their children with diabetes, the children's glucose levels decreased to the normal range and their dietary compliance increased. Also the parents' and children's anxiety and depression levels decreased. Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., LaGreca A., Shaw, K., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1997). Massage therapy lowers blood glucose levels in children with Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Spectrum 10, 237-239.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome - Massage therapy improved sleep patterns and decreased pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and cortisol levels in adults with fibromyalgia. Sunshine, W., Field, T., Schanberg, S., Quintino, O., Fierro, K., Kuhn, C., Burman, I., and Schanberg, S. (1996). Fibromyalgia benefits from massage therapy and transcutaneous electrical stimulation. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2, 18-22.

HIV - In those who received a 45-minute massage five times weekly for a 1-month period: 1) anxiety, stress and cortisol levels were significantly reduced; and 2) natural killer cells and natural killer cell activity increased, suggesting positive effects on the immune system. Ironson, G., Field, T., Scafidi, F., Hashimoto, M., Kumar, M., Kumar, A., Price, A., Goncalves, A., Burman, I., Tetenman, C., Patarca, R., & Fletcher, M. A. (1996). Massage therapy is associated with enhancement of the immune system's cytotoxic capacity. International Journal of Neuroscience 84, 205-218.

Hypertension - Massage therapy decreased diastolic blood pressure, anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) levels in adults with hypertension. Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, H., Hossain, Z., & Burman, I. (2000). High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 4, 31-38.

Migraine Headaches - Massage therapy decreased the occurrence of headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms and increased serotonin levels in adults with migraine headaches. Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Dieter, J., Swerdlow. & Diego, M., (1998). Migraine headaches were reduced by massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 96, 1-11.

Premenstrual Symptoms - The mood of women with premenstrual symptoms improved, and anxiety, pain and water retention symptoms decreased after massage therapy. Hernandez-Reif, M., Martinez, A., Field, T., Quintino, O., Hart, S. & Burman, I. (2000). Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms are relieved by massage therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 21, 9-15.

Sleep - Preschool children who had received massage fell asleep sooner and slept longer during nap time, had decreased activity levels and better behavior ratings. Field, T., Kilmer, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., & Burman, I. (1996). Preschool Children's Sleep and Wake Behavior: Effects of massage therapy. Early Child Development and Care, 120, 39-44.

Smoking - Cravings, anxious behaviors and the number of cigarettes smoked were reduced by self-massage (rubbing ear lobes or hands whenever subjects experienced a craving). Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., and Hart, S. (1999). Smoking cravings are reduced by self-massage. Preventive Medicine, 28, 28-32.

Specials to Bill Hulsizer (Owner, Tusculum Therapeutic Massage)  for graciously allowing us to use this summary.