Holistic Massage School Shares Research on the Benefits of Therapeutic Massage


“One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from enrollees is; What exactly are the latest research findings on the benefits of massage” said Harmony Morgan, Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health – Laguna Hills.  “To answer their questions, I refer them to The University of Miami School of Medicine’s Touch Research Institute’s (TRI) website – www.miami.edu/touch-research .   TRI has conducted dozens of studies on the positive effects of massage therapy.  Below is a summary of general findings, plus information about Massage’s impact on patients with specific medical conditions.  As you’ll see, the impact of massage is both undeniable and substantial, two reasons why Massage Therapist are now recognized as in-demand Practitioners.  Professional Massage Therapy and Therapeutic Bodyworker are essential to any holistic medical or wellness program,” she added.

Proven General Benefits of Massage:

  • Enhanced immune function (increased natural killer cells in HIV and Cancer)
  • Diminished pain (e.g. fibromyalgia)
  • Decreased autoimmune problems (e.g. increased pulmonary function in asthma and decreased glucose levels in diabetes)
  • Enhanced growth in preterm infants
  • Enhanced alertness and performance (EEG pattern of alertness and better performance on math computations).
  • Decreased stress hormones (e.g. Cortisol)


Specific Benefits for individuals with the following common ailments include:


Adults were given a chair massage, and control group adults were asked to relax in a chair for 15 minutes, two times a week for five weeks. Frontal delta power increased for both groups, suggesting relaxation. The massage group showed decreased alpha and beta power, and increased speed and accuracy on math computations. At the end of the five-week period depression scores were lower for both groups but job stress scores were only, for the massage group.

[Cit: Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T.,Goncalves, A., Burman, I. , Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197-205.]


Depressed adolescent mothers received ten 30-minute sessions of massage therapy or relaxation therapy over a five-week period. Subjects were randomly assigned to each group. Although both groups reported lower anxiety following their first and final sessions, although only the massage therapy group showed behavioral and stress hormone changes, including a decrease in anxious behavior, heart rate and cortisol levels.

[Cit: Field, T., Grizzle, N., Scafidi, F., & Schanberg, S. (1996). Massage and relaxation therapies’ effects on depressed adolescent mothers. Adolescence, 31, 903-911.]


Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is associated with elevated anxiety, stress and stress hormones, hostility, depression and catecholamines. Massage therapy and progressive muscle relaxation were evaluated as treatments for reducing blood pressure and these associated symptoms. Sitting diastolic blood pressure decreased after the first and last massage therapy sessions and reclining diastolic blood pressure decreased from the first to the last day of the study.

[Cit: Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J. & Theakston, H.(2000). High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 4, 31-38.]


Back Pain

Massage therapy was compared to relaxation for chronic low back pain. By the end of the study, the massage therapy group, as compared to the relaxation group, reported less pain, depression and anxiety and improved sleep. They also showed improved trunk and pain flexion performance, and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher.

[Cit: Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., & Theakston, H. (2001). Lower back pain is reduced and range of motion increased after massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145.]


Healing Hands School of Holistic Health is considered a trail-blazer for education in the Holistic Healing Arts, serving residents in Southern California for over 27 years.  To date, their exceptional Faculty has prepared more than 7,500 students for rewarding careers as Professional Massage Therapists and can do the same for YOU! To learn more, go online to www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido or (858) 505-1100 in  Kearny Mesa.