Last week at work we got a brochure in the mail advertising a lecture that was taking place today at the University. It was being put on by a doctor who has done research on massage therapy as well as written a couple of massage text books. The brochure said she would be presenting on evidence based research findings and it sounded quite promising. From what I have heard since I was in massage school there is very little concrete research proof of the effectiveness of massage in treating various conditions. There are plenty of people who would agree that massage is beneficial in the treatment of specific or general muscle pain. However people saying that does not mean that there is research data to support it.
The doctor who presented today started off by saying that it is very difficult to do massage research because there are SO many variables that are hard to control, such as therapist training, various techniques, treatment frequency, people's preconceived notions about massage, etc. So after saying all of that she proceeded to specifically speak about the effects of massage on edema, asthma, type 2 diabetes and neck pain. Basically said there is no conclusive evidence that massage is helpful in any of these conditions. I beg to differ..... However she did say that a lot of the studies performed were very inconsistent with poor sample sizes, as well as one of the neck pain studies, the people involved only had one massage. That doesn't seem like a very reliable research study to me.
When we first got this brochure at work I thought, hey this will be great. Maybe finally we will have some better credibility with the Worker's Compensation Board and SGI. I thought, maybe someone should call up the representatives from these organizations who keep telling us there is no conclusive proof that massage is effective and tell them to check out this seminar. Well I sincerely hope that none of them were there today. What a disappointment! I am not quite sure why this lecture took place at all.... Waste of time and effort if you ask me! :P