In the last 59 years, the field of massage has gained great momentum, although it exists for many years and has been documented since the pharaohs dynasty1 and ancient China2. But documentation is not research.
In recent years, scientific studies have been increasing to examine the effects of clinical massage. The results of the studies indicated relief of chronic back pain3, reduced stress in the office4, and assistance in daily life for Osteoarthritis patiants5.
At the same time, some oppose it. Consider the following study6: In the study compared two types of ancient massage arts – the Japanese Shiatsu, and the Chinese acupuncture. The common between the two arts is their origins in the Far East and their reliance on energy and meridians [“arteries” of Eastern science]. In addition, both approaches are based on the operator’s pressure on the patient using the thumb, and the absence of oil during treatment.
However, there are many differences between the two approaches. For example, in the Shiatsu the thumb is open, static, and the weight of the body is used. While the acupressure uses the thumb closed, dynamic and usually moves in circles when the pressure comes from the weight rather than the weight of the therapist7.
Only after understanding these small differences can we re-examine old studies: out of 80 studies, third without precise documentation of the process. Some used oil or other techniques. In fact, out of 80 studies, only 15 were defined as reliable. Over the years they have begun to put more emphasis on the small details. The method, technique, and correct writing of the article. In 2017, a group of scientists from Thailand conducted a research8. the effectiveness of traditional Thai massage (Eastern / Alternative Medicine) as opposed to the Manual therapy (“Knacks” that chiropractors do), which is defined in most countries as Western/modern medicine. In contrast to previous experiments, the methodology (method of research) was formulated, clear and detailed: the method of work of the therapists, the pressure point in the body the patient, the direction of the pressure, the use of heat/cold measures and more. The results of the study were amazing! The experimental group showed happiness, joy, and a significant reduction in pain compared with the sample group. The study limit [the drawback in it] was the duration of the effect of the study results. Massage is like a band-aid, it works short-term and can not come as the only solution to the pain. The physical practice must be performed by the patient at home as well. In addition, the experiment defined that between the therapist and the patient will be minimal communication and it greatly reduces the healing effect.
Thus, another study9 conducted by Dr. Jorge Fuentes examined how the interaction of the therapist with the patient affected 117 people with low back problems who participated in a study that examined the effects of electrical currents on chronic back pain reduction and were divided into four groups: First group received full electrical treatment when the caregivers avoided eye contact and Make minimal contact.
They were divided into four groups: the first group received full electrical treatment, while the therapists avoided eye contact and created no more than necessary verbal communication. The second group received full electrical treatment and the therapists created verbal and physical interaction. In the third group, they just attached the electrodes on, and do not turn on the device, and the therapists will make minimal contact. A fourth group attached the electrodes without turning on the device but the therapists fully interacted. The results of the study showed that while the second group had a significantly lower pain threshold, the next group that showed the most significant improvement was group 4.
Therefore, the results of the study indicate that full consideration of the patient’s needs alone may lead to a significant reduction in pain.
In conclusion, in order to prove that contact therapy is useful, several variables need to be considered. In contrast to studies using pharmacological drugs, the study on the benefit of massage should take into account the human factor (the therapist) as well as the manner of communication, time, knowledge, ability, location, technique, and influence. And these are just a small part of the equation.
(2)The yellow emperor – https://www.ncbi.nlm.ih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2287209/
(5) Ostioarthritis- https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/18/6/1168/2924776?searchresult=1
(6) Shiatsu VS acupressure – http://www.ijtmb.org/index.php/ijtmb/article/view/391
(7) Shiatsu VS acupressure Pic
(8) Thai VS JM- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5495387/