Massage Therapy and Sleep

Monday July 1, 2013

Sleep is an important aspect of health and well-being.  Though research does not always agree on a magic number of hours of sleep people require, getting too little sleep is associated with a number of medical conditions, including obesity, and can negatively impact a person’s overall health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression, which threaten our nation’s health. Notably, insufficient sleep is associated with the onset of these diseases and also poses important implications for their management and outcome.”

Research from 2010 is helping shed light on how massage therapy can be used to help people who have difficulty sleeping. One study showed positive results that massage therapy can benefit people with lower back pain and sleep disturbances. The massage therapy group experienced less pain, anxiety and sleep disturbance when compared to the group using only relaxation therapy

Another study investigated the effects of massage therapy for sleep quality on heart surgery patients. Pain in the chest, shoulders and back decreased significantly for both the massage group and the control group from day 1 to day 3.   Participants in the massage therapy group, however, had fewer complaints of fatigue on day 1 and day 2, as well as reporting a more effective sleep during all three days.

Sources: Information adapted from the American Massage Therapy Association