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Dynamic Chiropractic – April 7, 2003, Vol. 21, Issue 08
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dynamicchiropractic.com >> Massage - General

How Massage Therapy Can Benefit Your Patients

By Deborah Solomon

An increasing number of chiropractic offices are benefiting by offering massage therapy to patients. Not only is massage relaxing; it has numerous therapeutic effects, including, but not limited to:


  • reducing blood pressure and heart rate;
  • increasing local blood flow;
  • increasing thoracic gas volume, peak flow and forced vital capacity;
  • increasing cytotoxic capacity (activity level of the body's natural "killer cells");
  • strongly influencing lymph flow;
  • improving gait, range of motion and foot-to-floor force;
  • reducing muscle tension and pain after repeated treatments;
  • reducing pain, stiffness and fatigue;
  • reducing anxiety, tension, pain and depression in cancer patients;
  • reducing posttraumatic headache;
  • increasing muscle tone and flexibility;
  • reducing morning sickness in pregnant women;
  • decreasing duration of labor, hospital stay and postpartum depression; and
  • applications to sports medicine.

I have worked for chiropractors for over 12 years in various capacities. As a massage therapist, I market myself to the public, often bringing in new patients to the office. Patients unfamiliar with chiropractic are often more likely to consider massage than having their backs "cracked." Once they meet the doctor, it is easier to refer them for chiropractic care. Without fail, I can palpate an area in need of a chiropractor's touch. I ask, "Is that tender? Have you ever seen a chiropractor?" It's a gentle lead-in to refer them to seek chiropractic care. Also, the doctor refers motor-vehicle-accident patients to me for soft tissue work. It's a symbiotic relationship.

By working together toward the common goal of helping the patient get well (and stay well), the chiropractor and the massage therapist can both reap the benefits. Since more and more insurance companies now recognize the value of massage therapy and are pay accordingly, it's an all-around great tool to increase the growth of your practice.


  • Fakouri C, Jones P. Relaxation Rx: Slow-stroke backrub. J. of Geron. Nurs February 1987;13(2):32-35.
  • Yates J. A Physician's Guide to Therapeutic Massage: Its Physiological Effects and Their Application to Treatment. 1990.
  • Beeken J, et al. Effectiveness of neuromuscular release massage therapy on chronic obstructive lung disease. Clin. Nurs. Research August 1998;7(3):309-325.
  • Ironson G, Field T, et al. Massage therapy is associated with enhancement of the immune system's cytotoxic capacity. Intern. J. Neuroscience 1996;84:205-217.
  • Zeitlin D, et al. Immunological effects of massage therapy during academic stress (unpublished), 1998.
  • Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Ironson G. Massage therapy effects on breast cancer (unpublished), 1998.
  • Mortimer PS, Simmonds R, Rezvani M, et al. The measurement of skin lymph flow by isotope clearance - reliabilty, reproducibilty, injection dynamics, and the effect of massage. J. Invst. Derm 1990;95:766-682.
  • Baumann JU. Effect of manual medicine in the treatment of cerebral palsy. Manuelle Medizin (German) 1996;34:127-133.
  • Danneskiold-Samose B, Christiansen E, Anderson, RB. Myofascial pain: the role of myoglobin. Scand J. Rheumatol (Swedish) 1986;15:174-78.
  • Sunshine W, Field T, et al. Fibromyalgia benefits from massage therapy and transcutaneous electrical stimulation. J. Clin. Rheum February 1996; 2(1):18-22.
  • Wilkinson S. Aromatherapy and massage in palliative care. Int. J. Palliat. Nurs March 1995;1(1):21-30.
  • Jensen OK, Neilsen FF, Vosmar L. An open study comparing manual therapy with the use of cold packs in the treatment of posttraumatic headache. Cephalalgia (Norway) October 1990;10(5):241-50.
  • Weintraub M. Shiatsu, Swedish muscle massage and trigger point suppression in spinal pain syndrome. Am. J. Pain Man April 1992;2(2):74-78.
  • Dundee JW, Sourial FB, Ghaly RG, Bell PF. P6 acupressure reduces morning sickness. J. The Royal Soc. of Med August 1988;81(8):456-57.
  • Field T, Hernandez-Reif, et al. Labor pain is reduced by massage therapy. J. Psychosomatic Obs. and Gyn 1997;18: 286-291.
  • Goats GC. Massage - the scientific basis of an ancient art: parts 1 and 2. Br. J. Sports Med (UK) September 1994; 28(3):149-52,153-56.

Deborah Solomon, LMT
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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