Massage therapy has been around for centuries, and its popularity has grown exponentially in recent years. But is massage therapy a pseudoscience? This is a question that has been debated for some time, and the answer is not as straightforward as it may seem. In this article, we will explore the evidence for and against massage therapy being a pseudoscience, and provide an expert analysis of the topic.The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) website states that therapeutic massage can help with allergies, asthma, bronchitis, spastic colon, constipation, diarrhea, and sinusitis. The site also suggests that “massage is for the human body what a set-up is for a car and that” therapeutic massage can be part of your regular health maintenance.
And a 1997 AMTA brochure falsely states that massage can promote easier breathing, help eliminate metabolic waste, strengthen the immune system, and help prevent disease. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. In fact, most studies have shown that massage does not have any significant effect on the course of any illness. For example, a study conducted in 1997 showed that a typical selection of structuralist massage techniques was not more effective than simple relaxation massage in reducing pain.
Similarly, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that massage therapy “can benefit certain types of pain and improve quality of life, and can be relaxing and mood enhancing, although in general the evidence is preliminary and contradictory.”It is also important to note that many of the claims made by AMTA are based on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific research. For example, presenting lactic acid as a kind of metabolic coconut that massage can purge from meat is wrong on many levels. Similarly, there is no evidence to suggest that massage can prevent or cure any disease.In addition to the lack of scientific evidence to support its claims, massage therapy also has some dubious practices associated with it. These include acupressure, craniosacral therapy, ear candles, reflexology, muscle testing for allergies, reiki, lymphatic massage “to eliminate toxins”, and several other practices that claim to detoxify the body.
While some of these practices may have some benefits for certain individuals, there is no scientific evidence to support their efficacy.It is also important to note that many states have an independent massage therapy licensing board. However, some states use the state health department or another professional board for this purpose. Furthermore, some schools are accredited by the Massage Therapy Accreditation Commission (COMTA), which is recognized by the U. S.
Department of Education.That said, there are some positive aspects to massage therapy as well. For instance, some studies have shown that massage can lower the DOMS limit by up to 30%, which may provide temporary relief from pain. Additionally, practical experience is valuable in this field and anyone who has had a good massage knows how seemingly magical it can be when a therapist finds the perfect spots and “good pain”.In conclusion, while there is no scientific evidence to support many of the claims made by AMTA or other organizations about massage therapy being able to cure or prevent any illness or disease, there are some benefits associated with it. Massage therapy can provide temporary relief from pain and can be relaxing and mood enhancing.
However, it is important to be aware of any dubious practices associated with it before engaging in any form of massage therapy.