It’s been ten years since I’ve taken a pharmaceutical medication. At that time, I had just had surgery and was in great need of pain relief. Had the results of a recent study been available, I would have spoken with my doctor about a safer way to soothe my discomfort. 

Published in the Archives of Surgery, the study followed 605 men undergoing major surgery. Two hundred of the men received a twenty minute back massage each night for four nights following the procedure. The men who were massages reported experiencing a faster reduction in the intensity of their pain and less overall discomfort. 

Allison Mitchinson, one of the authors of the article, believes that massage may work through multiple pathways to provide pain relief. Among these are easing anxieties, dilating the blood vessels, raising body temperature and causing the release of endorphins. 

It’s becoming ever more evident that alternative therapies have a clear role to play in our conventional medical system. As Dr. Marie Hanna of Johns Hopkins University comments:

“Increased awareness for better pain control has led treating physicians to use nontraditional modalities such as massage therapy, music, and relaxation techniques.” 

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