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Massage and Medicine

By: Barbara Kohn
Posted: June 18, 2008, from the July 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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“Medical doctors speak and breathe research,” Healey notes. “Right now, physicians increasingly are referring patients to massage therapy because they see the clinical results. Patients feel better, have less pain and sleep better. However, physicians still are seeking to build their own body of evidence.”

To create a healing environment and an integrative medical practice, NWHSU’s School of Massage Therapy and Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s Institute for Health and Healing (IHH) in Minneapolis teamed up to create a massage therapy program for hospital patients.

“Our goal is to provide data that proves massage therapy has an impact on the length of a hospital stay, as well as on the costs associated with pain management,” explains Lori Knutson, IHH director. She adds, “We have seen a positive response from physicians—so much so that we’re developing treatment protocols as a result.”

John Dugie, DC, a chiropractor from Albuquerque, New Mexico, also notices an increase in fellow practitioners who are including massage therapy as part of their physiotherapy modality. According to Dugie, “As more research comes into the picture, I’m seeing the younger generation of physicians viewing the patient more holistically.”

Barbara Kline Hammond, founder of The Day Spa at Serenity Gardens in Corrales, New Mexico, also sees more clients coming in whose physicians are recommending massage on a regular basis for muscle relaxation and improved circulation. Hammond, herself a cancer survivor, is glad to see this trend. “I know firsthand that there’s a lot of healing involved through touch,” she says. Today, many physicians and spa professionals alike agree that this belief is one that can—and will—be proven by further extensive research into the area of massage therapy and its effects.

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