Massage & Bodywork

JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2015

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44 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j a n u a r y / f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 5 SOMATIC RESEARCH education Massage Therapy Reduces Blood Pressure Studies Show Effectiveness of Massage By Jerrilyn Cambron According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three American adults has hypertension (commonly known as high blood pressure), yet only about half of affected people have their condition under control. 1 This is concerning because hypertension can lead to dangerous health conditions including chronic heart failure, heart attack, kidney disease, and stroke. In fact, high blood pressure and its associated conditions lead to approximately 1,000 deaths each day in the United States. A recent review article, "Massage Therapy for Essential Hypertension: A Systematic Review," 2 searched seven research databases for randomized controlled trials on massage therapy for improvement of hypertension. Twenty-four clinical trials were included in the review, for a total of 1,962 hypertensive subjects. Nine of the clinical trials compared two groups: a group that received massage versus a group that received antihypertensive medication. The review's authors performed a meta-analysis to combine all of the data from these nine studies. They found that massage was better than medication for lowering systolic blood pressure, but they did not find any significant differences in diastolic blood pressure between the two groups.

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