Massage Research


Research shows that massage can help

Reduce work-related stress | Increase alertness and employee effectiveness | Reduce anxiety, depression and fatigue

Related Research

A study conducted at Bowling Green State University “evaluated the effectiveness of a 15-minute on-site Chair Massage on reducing stress as indicated by blood pressure.” Fifty-two participants were given a 15-minute massage; their blood pressures were measured before and after the massage. After receiving the massage, analysis showed a “significant reduction” in their blood pressure.

Cady, S. H. and G. E. Jones. “Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for reduction of stress.” Perceptual & Motor Skills 84.1 (Feb. 1997): 157-8.

“According to a study cited by the Evanston-based American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 98% of employees who regularly receive therapeutic massage at work said it helped to reduce work-related stress; 66% said it enabled them to stay at work when they otherwise would have gone home sick.”

A meta-analysis was conducted of studies that used random assignment to test the effectiveness of MT. Mean effect sizes were calculated from 37 studies for 9 dependent variables. Single applications of MT reduced state anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate but not negative mood, immediate assessment of pain, and cortisol level. Multiple applications reduced delayed assessment of pain. Reductions of trait anxiety and depression were MT’s largest effects, with a course of treatment providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy. No moderators were statistically significant, though continued testing is needed. The limitations of a medical model of MT are discussed, and it is proposed that new MT theories and research use a psychotherapy perspective. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Moyer, Christopher A.; Rounds, James; Hannum, James W. 2004. A Meta-Analysis of Massage Therapy Research. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 130(1), 3-18. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.130.1.3