separate studies, massage therapy shows promise in reducing pain
and increasing the range of motion for those with osteoarthritis of
One study had a group of patients attend supervised self-massage
sessions twice a week, and taught them a regimen of self-massage
techniques to use at home. At the end of the study, researchers
found an overall improvement in stiffness, function and pain for
the intervention group, while a control group that did not
participate in the self-massage remained the same.
In a second study, patients receiving regular weekly or
bi-weekly massage showed reduced pain and stiffness and increased
Here is a
summary of both studies prepared by the American Massage
It's great to know that massage therapy may have the potential
to reduce reliance on prescription and over-the-counter pain
medication in osteoarthritis of the knee.
NUHS has a strong culture of supporting research by its faculty,
graduate students, and students in its massage therapy program. The
field of massage welcomes new research and case studies that track
the benefits and applications of massage for various health
One massage student, Lauren Camer, did research at NUHS that
culminated in a poster that she presented at a national conference
after she graduated. She presented her poster at the 2013 American
Massage Therapy Association National Convention in Fort Worth,
Texas in September. Her topic was "Massage Therapy for Balance and
Proprioceptive Deficits in a Juvenile: A Case Report."
Lauren Cramer presents her research at the AMTA National
The poster was based on the case of a boy with balance problems
who received ten 30-minute manual massage therapy treatments over
the course of five weeks. The therapist performed balance
assessments on the boy before, during and after the massage therapy
sessions. Lauren's case study on the boy showed that massage
provided a positive and lasting impact.
While working on her research project, Lauren appreciated
mentorship from her clinical supervisor, Dr. Patricia Coe,
as well as her co-author, NUHS clinical research coordinator, Jen
"They were always available to answer questions, and helped me
with the preliminary work I needed to do to get my research
proposal approved by the university," says Lauren.
Now that she has graduated from NUHS, Lauren Camer is currently
a licensed massage therapist in Illinois. She has a mobile massage
service in addition to providing corporate chair massages and
working in a chiropractic physician's office part-time.
National University is proud of its many of its faculty members
who are published in nationwide magazines and professional
journals. This includes our faculty who are experts in massage
therapy. For example, this November, you'll find our massage
therapy clinic supervisor,
Dr. Patricia Coe, quoted in O: The Oprah Magazine.
Also, one of National's research professors, Dr. Jerrilyn
Cambron, wrote an article on the topic of vetting good massage
research for the November/December issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine. Dr. Cambron
knows a great deal about massage research, as she is the current
president-elect of the Massage Therapy Foundation and a co-founder
Learn more about our massage therapy programs so
that you, too, can come learn with the experts!
In this video, you'll hear why massage therapy instructor Candy
Washington, LMT, feels that NUHS produces outstanding massage
therapists. Hands-on training, as well as internship experience in
an integrative medical clinic are key reasons. Read more about
Candy Washington »
Most people are great candidates for the relaxation and health
benefits of massage therapy. However, there are times when a
massage may not be the right choice.
"Certain conditions contraindicate massage, either because of
the risk it may pose to the client or to the therapist," says
Patricia Coe, DC, ND, clinic supervisor for National University
of Health Sciences' massage therapy
At NUHS, massage students learn how to communicate with clients
about their health conditions and assess whether a massage is the
right choice for them that day, which techniques are advisable, and
when a note or consultation with a client's physician is in
For example, if a client has a cold, flu, or other contagious
viral or bacterial infection, the therapist may decline to work
with them so that they don't catch a cold and risk passing the
infection to other clients.
"When a client has a cold or flu, a massage might seem
comforting," says Dr. Coe. "However, when someone has an infection,
their body is already working hard to fight it and recover. A
massage can be very stimulating internally and place certain
demands on the body during a time when your client should be simply
Another occasion when a massage should be postponed is if the
client is intoxicated. Many folks seek out massage while on
vacation or under stress. They may have also had a few cocktails to
relax as well. "Intoxication is a risk during massage," says
Dr. Coe, "primarily because it desensitizes the client. This makes
it hard for them to give the therapist reliable feedback. A massage
therapist needs to know what level of pressure is comfortable and
what is too much. If you're client is intoxicated, those sensations
""An acute injury is also likely to be a contraindication to
massage," says Dr. Coe. "Although it may seem like a great idea to
get a massage immediately after straining a muscle, if there is
damage to the area, massage may actually interfere with the healing
"A good therapist will guide the discussion on health issues so
that they can determine the right technique for a client and
whether or not a massage is contraindicated," says Dr. Coe. "In our
program we give students the tools to do this."
"The healing benefits of massage therapy are many, and it is
fairly rare to encounter situations where massage is
contraindicated for very long," according to Dr. Coe.
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