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Does massage therapy reduce cortisol? A comprehensive quantitative review

updated

Tags: massage, scientific medicine, manual therapy, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Moyer 2011: Does Massage Therapy Work?

PainSci notes on Moyer 2011:

Despite frequent assertions that massage therapy reduces cortisol levels, but the evidence is limited and mixed: it is neither proven nor disproven. “A definitive quantitative review of massage therapy’s effect on cortisol would be of value to massage therapy research and practice.”

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

It is frequently asserted that massage therapy (MT) reduces cortisol levels, and that this mechanism is the cause of MT benefits including relief from anxiety, depression, and pain, but reviews of MT research are not in agreement on the existence or magnitude of such a cortisol reduction effect, or the likelihood that it plays such a causative role. A definitive quantitative review of MT's effect on cortisol would be of value to MT research and practice.

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