A short while ago I wrote about the Maidstone Sports Injury Clinic and Wellbeing, it was advertised at a gym in Maidstone. I explained that most of the stuff offered probably doesn’t work.
Today I look at Therapeutic Massage because I don’t really know what it is.
The Maidstone Wellness thingy has a page on the Massage and it explains what it is:
Therapeutic Body Massage works the soft tissue of the body, where knots, tension and muscle tightness can be found. It is from working into and around these areas that Therapeutic Body Massage can help ease stress and muscular tension.
To me that sounds like a massage. It seems that someone will massage you and you will feel better. I don’t think I have a problem with that unless there are specific medical claims made on the same page.
Guess what? There aren’t any specific medical claims. All the benefits are a bit shit and vague so that we don’t have to worry about them:
- Reduction in muscle spasm, pain and tension
- Release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers
- Promotes relaxation, therefore reducing stress and anxiety
- Improves blood circulation
- Improves lymphatic drainage
- Improves mobility
I guess if you stimulate someone then you create more blood flow and most of these claims are probably not too bad. Whether that does any good I don’t know.
I’ve had a look in PubMed, here are some of the results discussed:
Now, my comments. Firstly this was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine so that automatically means it’s bollocks. However, here’s what they found: someone’s calf when rubbed with something warmer than air temperature warms up. The killer line in this study is “a rise in temperature THEORETICALLY indicates increased blood flow”. Amazing!
I have the same criticisms for this paper. The journal is bollocks and the whole process is bollocks.
This one is from a different journal, this time the Journal of Integrative Medicine, which is a bollocks journal. Note that in the conclusion they state that the results might not be clinically relevant. Quelle surprise.
This next paper seems more realistic although the abstract is barely abstract it does say that it’s all a bit vague really.
Well, it seems that massage and blood circulation are common claims but there isn’t really anything to it as no-one is able to define what circulation means. This is classic alternative “medicine”. They make deliberately vague claims because those claims aren’t medically recognised terms and therefore don’t need medical evidence.
I reckon that having a massage won’t do you any particular harm. It might even make you feel better and more relaxed. Much like reading a book or having a glass of wine. I doubt there are particular health benefits to having a massage but if it feels good, do it.