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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Moyer 2008.

Reduces anxiety, depression: the only confirmed benefits of massage therapy

updated
Moyer CA. Affective massage therapy. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2008;1(2):3–5. PubMed #21589715.
Tags: treatment, mind, manual therapy, massage, back pain, pain problems, spine

PainSci summary of Moyer 2008?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★★☆?4-star ratings are for bigger/better studies and reviews published in more prestigious journals, with only quibbles. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

Dr. Christopher Moyer explains that the only confirmed benefits of massage are its effects on mood (“affect”), specifically depression and anxiety. “Together, these effects on anxiety and depression are the most well-established effects in the MT research literature. They are especially important for us to understand not only for their own sake, but also because anxiety and depression exacerbate many other specific health problem.” He proposes that “the time is right to name a new subfield for massage therapy research and practice: affective massage therapy.”

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract

Two general effects [of massage, MT] are well-supported by scientific data and widely agreed-upon by MT researchers. Quantitative research reviews show that a series of MT treatments consistently produces sizable reductions of depression in adult recipients. The effects of MT on anxiety are even better understood. Single sessions of MT significantly reduce state anxiety, the momentary emotional experiences of apprehension, tension, and worry in both adults and in children, and multiple sessions of MT, performed over a period of days or weeks, significantly reduce trait anxiety, the normally stable individual tendency to experience anxiety states, to an impressive degree in adults.

Together, these effects on anxiety and depression are the most well-established effects in the MT research literature. They are especially important for us to understand not only for their own sake, but also because anxiety and depression exacerbate many other specific health problems. In other words, it is reasonable to theorize that quite a few specific health benefits associated with MT may actually be “second-order” effects that are a consequence of MT’s “first-order” effects on anxiety and depression.

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These five articles on PainScience.com cite Moyer 2008 as a source:


This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: