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Massage Aha!

Professional therapeutic massage therapy in Kansas City, MO by Aaron Harris, BCTMB

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Massage For Pain and Fatigue


Recent studies are reinforcing evidence that massage therapy is effective at combating pain and fatigue. This is particularly true for cancer patients.

Massage After Breast Cancer Surgery

Woman holding her left shoulder in a sauna
Massage therapy can combat pain and fatigue.

One study supported by grants from the National Institute of Health showed substantial improvement in pain, mobility, and overall health among patients after breast cancer surgery.

Myofascial massage significantly reduced self-reported mobility limitations and overall health.

Another study found that a series of six weekly Swedish massage sessions resulted in a significant reduction in fatigue among breast cancer survivors who had surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Massage for Chronic Low Back Pain and Arthritis

Other recent studies have focused on the benefits of massage therapy for people suffering from chronic low back pain and arthritis.

The Kentucky Pain Research and Outcomes Study found clinical improvement in quality of life after a series of 12 weekly massage therapy sessions.

Additionally, a systematic review of seven separate studies on massage therapy for arthritis found that massage is superior to nonactive therapies at reducing pain and fatigue.


Massingill J, Jorgensen C, Dolata J, Sehgal AR. “Myofascial massage for chronic pain and decreased upper extremity mobility after breast cancer surgery.” Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2018 Aug 5;11(3):4-9

Kinkead B, Schettler PJ, Larson ER, Carroll D, Sharenko M, Nettles J, Edwards SA, Miller AG, Torres MA, Dunlop BW, Rakofsky JJ, Rapaport MH. “Massage therapy decreases cancer-related fatigue: results from a randomized early phase trial.” Cancer. 2018 Feb 1;124(3):546-554

Elder WG, Munk N, Love MM, Bruckner GG, Stewart KE, Pearce K. “Real-world massage therapy produces meaningful effectiveness signal for primary care patients with chronic low back pain: results of a repeated measures cohort study.” Pain Med. 2017 Jul1;18(7):394-1405

Nelson NL, Churilla JR. “Massage therapy for pain and function in patients with arthritis: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.” Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2017 Sep;96(9):665-672

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