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Massage may be lovely, but it’s not “medicine”

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

This awful infographic I noticed making the rounds on Facebook basically claims that massage therapy can do aaaaaanything for people’s health:

The evidence does support massage for anxiety and depression, which is not unimportant. Other than that, though, these bullet points range from “exaggerated” to “delusional.” The image was inspired by this equally terrible blog post, which uncritically celebrates and exaggerates the conclusions of few dubious sources, boosterism clumsily masquerading as science blogging, and fooling everyone who wants to be fooled — which isn’t all massage therapists, but certainly a lot of them. The sad truth is that massage therapy has no clearly established medical benefits. It may have great value, but it doesn’t have great medical value — not that anyone’s been able to prove, and not for lack of trying.