If you keep up with the globe of therapeutic massage treatment, you will eventually discover that there are some new suggestions and phrases likely all around. Evidence based therapeutic massage. Evidence primarily based apply. Proof educated follow. Science based mostly drugs. What does it all imply?

Massage Based mostly on Tradition

When I went to therapeutic massage college, much of what we had been taught was based on tradition or what was perceived to be frequent sense. We did particular issues in certain techniques because… well, simply because that was the way we have been taught to do them. Massage “improved circulation.” We should drink a lot of drinking water soon after a massage so it would “flush out toxins.” It seemed to make sense, right?

My 1st introduction to the concept that science was commencing to contradict some of our dearly held beliefs came when an teacher informed me that analysis had proven that massage did not, as was generally claimed, decrease lactic acid in muscle tissue. We might often been advised that a buildup of lactic acid in the muscle tissues was what triggered soreness and that massage lowered its existence. Folks continuously expertise that therapeutic massage reduces muscle tissue soreness. For that reason, therapeutic massage should be lowering the presence of lactic acid, correct?

When somebody lastly did some study, it turned out that, in reality, therapeutic massage did not decrease the presence of lactic acid. How could this be? Did this imply what we would been led to feel was incorrect? Effectively, it really is real that massage does lower soreness in muscle groups. Apparently, though, it is not simply because of lactic acid. How does massage lower soreness? We never plainly understand how it happens but we do know that it does occur.

Despite the fact that a single of therapeutic massage therapy’s sacred cows had just been slain, I preferred it that this certain instructor was having to pay interest to science and research and was a lot more intrigued in knowing the truth of what was taking place relatively than defending a tradition that may well not be supportable.

Shortly afterward I found Neuromuscular Treatment, often referred to as Cause Point Therapy, and the operate of Travell and Simons. Drs. Travell and Simons spent several a long time documenting the phenomena of bring about factors and producing the two volume set Myofascial Discomfort and Dysfunction: The Trigger Position Guide. Studying their function gave me the instruments to operate successfully with some widespread ache circumstances. It also started to give me the information and vocabulary to speak intelligently to actual physical therapists and healthcare medical doctors about my consumers and their individuals. It started out me down the path of an evidence primarily based exercise, a path which I strive to comply with to this day.

Massage Primarily based on Proof

Evidenced based therapeutic massage therapy is therapeutic massage remedy launched on suggestions and principles supported by proof. There is scientific, documented proof to help the existence of and treatment method of trigger factors. There is documented evidence that therapeutic massage relieves muscle mass soreness and can relieve anxiousness and despair.

Many of the statements made and procedures utilised by massage therapists are started on tradition relatively than proof. Since there is not but a large body of understanding documenting the physiology of and results of therapeutic massage treatment, if we have been only in a position to make statements strictly on the foundation of scientific studies, we would be severely constrained, certainly. Some folks favor the expression proof knowledgeable practice as a lot more correct. An proof knowledgeable follow takes into thought scientific proof, medical knowledge, and careful observation.

I assumed this reliance on tradition was mainly confined to the field of therapeutic massage therapy and was amazed 1 day when I located a large screen about proof based mostly drugs in the halls of St. Louis College Medical University. Seemingly, even in standard medicine, many procedures are accomplished because that is the way they have constantly been completed and are not always supported by evidence that they are the very best way or even successful.

In science, one usually has to be open to new proof and be ready to change your brain when confronted with new information that contradicts previously held beliefs. One more one of massage therapists’ dearly held beliefs was challenged final summer when researcher Christopher Moyer introduced a paper that showed that therapeutic massage therapy did not lower ranges of the tension hormone cortisol practically as considerably as had been earlier thought and, in simple fact, its effect on cortisol may possibly be negligible. I am certain I was not the only therapeutic massage therapist who was startled by this information. However, as soon as I received over the first shock, I examined the evidence he offered. It took awhile for me to realize but in the conclude it appeared that he experienced extremely excellent proof to assist his conclusions. Does this mean that massage does not “work?” Effectively, it’s clear that therapeutic massage helps make us come to feel much better, we just never know exactly why or how.

Does it truly matter if we understand? I think so. Initial of all, as a therapist, I want to make positive that the promises I make to my consumers are truthful. I do not want to mislead them by creating unsubstantiated statements. In addition, I believe that the much more we are able to realize, the much more properly we could be in our function. Lastly, I feel that the far more we can doc the ways in which therapeutic massage remedy can be useful, the a lot more acknowledged it will become.


There are some great methods that can help therapeutic massage therapists continue to be abreast of present investigation in the area of therapeutic massage therapy. On-line message boards, Facebook webpages, and expert associations can be a start off. Apart from Gunmalove and articles that emphasis specifically on therapeutic massage therapy, regions these kinds of as discomfort science, neuroscience, and relevant fields can assist the science-based mostly therapist remain knowledgeable about how the human body functions and how we, as therapists, can affect it. Networking with bodily therapists and scientists can improve one’s comprehending, as well.

When we really comprehend how the body works, we are in a considerably better place to attain the client’s goals, no matter whether it is for ache aid or rest. And when our understanding is grounded in what is really known about how the human body works, are customers can have confidence in us and know that they are in good arms.