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All Archived Updates for:

Does Massage Therapy Work?

This page lists all 34 updates for one article on PainScience.com, Does Massage Therapy Work? For a more general summary of everything new around PainScience — recent updates for all articles, new articles, blog posts, and new study summaries, see What’s New on PainScience.com?

  1. Aug 22, 2020 — Added information, types of massage therapy — Compared and contrasted the practice of massage in other “manual therapy” professions like chiropractic, osteopathy, and physiotherapy.
  2. May 14, 2020 — Upgraded, psychological effects of massage — Significantly expanded on the discussion of how massage might have profound psychological significance to people.
  3. Mar 27, 2020 — Minor addition — Added an infographic of massage benefits as a negative example of typical claims about the profession.
  4. Nov 9, 2017 — Rewritten, trigger point section — I’ve changed my position from positive to unknown, “more study needed,” based on a thorough update and review of the science. I updated the evidence for massage for back pain at the same time, with similar results.
  5. Nov 9, 2017 — Rewritten, back pain section — I’ve changed my position from positive to unknown, “more study needed,” based on a thorough update and review of the science. I updated the evidence for trigger point massage at the same time, with similar results.
  6. May 15, 2017 — Science update, massage efficacy — Added citation to Webb et al, plus related edits.
  7. Dec 31, 2016 — Minor addition — Added a footnote linking to an interesting article about the neurology of touch as a major mechanism of massage.
  8. Nov 18, 2016 — Minor upgrade — Added an important point about the potential of novel sensory input to treat chronic pain.
  9. Oct 31, 2016 — Revised — An expanded and improved introduction, and a new smartphone-only article summary.
  10. Feb 5, 2016 — Science update — New bad news evidence about manual lymphatic drainage.
  11. Feb 27, 2015 — New section —
  12. Feb 20, 2015 — Upgrade — Added a table of contents (finally).
  13. Jan 15, 2015 — New section — Added an appendix about the Skeptical Massage Therapists Facebook group.
  14. Mar 19, 2014 — New section — New section about massage for fibromyalgia and Li et al.
  15. Aug 11, 2013 — Science update — Updated several references, and added an important new one about massage for low back pain, which also spawned an entire new section about the failure of supposedly “advanced” massage techniques.
  16. May 2, 2013 — Minor update — Trivial but fun addition of the sloth cuddling cat video.
  17. Feb 14, 2013 — Science update — Important good-science-news additions about the effects of stretching on heart rate regulation, and the effects of massage on anxiety and depression (it reduces them).
  18. Aug 4, 2012 — Minor update regarding DOMS.
  19. Jul 25, 2012 — A new item at the end of the myths section: “fascia matters.” And improved information about detoxification myths.
  20. Jul 4, 2012 — More on “tightness matters”: interesting evidence that massage therapists cannot reliably find the side of pain by feel.
  21. Mar 22, 2012 — Added a new massage myth that “tightness matters,” with an interesting footnote about palpatory pareidolia.
  22. Mar 9, 2012 — Beefed up my explanation of how massage can be psychologically and emotionally important. See “Personal growth: a massage benefit that may be impossible to define or measure.
  23. Feb 8, 2012 — Added references to the widely reported Crane et al study showing that massage supposedly “reduces inflammation.” It does not.
  24. Dec 21, 2011 — Added a list of “awkward questions” to demonstrate how hard it is to study what you can’t define. Also a few tweaks of related content.
  25. Oct 28, 2011 — Added reference to a new article explaining common statistical errors that particularly afflict massage therapy research. Thoroughly revised the section, “The trouble with studying massage,” right near the top of the article.
  26. Oct 4, 2011 — Added reference to new research showing that massage therapy probably helps bone cancer pain.
  27. Aug 26, 2011 — New section: “Personal growth: a massage benefit that may be impossible to define or measure.”
  28. Aug 12, 2011 — Updated several references, and added an important new one about massage for low back pain, which also spawned an entire new section about the failure of supposedly “advanced” massage techniques.
  29. Jul 14, 2011 — Added an amusing video about massage.
  30. Apr 6, 2010 — Some updates to the recently added section, More about lactic acid and detoxication, especially concerning evidence that lactic acid is not responsible for muscle pain and fatigue.
  31. Mar 27, 2010 — Added a nice quote from Hall.
  32. Mar 26, 2010 — New section based on fascinating new scientific evidence, More about lactic acid and detoxification.
  33. Feb 23, 2010 — Major revision, with focus on adding evidence about the effectiveness of massage therapy for back pain, updating numerous citations, and better explanations of how massage research works (or doesn’t).
  34. Sep 16, 2008 — Added information about the new study in Annals of Internal Medicine about massage therapy for cancer patients.