Structural Massage no better than relaxation massage in curing back pain

“A Comparison of the Effects of 2 Types of Massage and Usual Care on Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized, Controlled Trial,” by Daniel C. Cherkin, et al., Annals of Internal Medicine 155(1), pp. 1-9. Read online at See also a detailed follow-up study “Structural Integration as an Adjunct to Outpatient Rehabilitation for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Pilot Clinical Trial” at

“Massage is one of the most popular complementary and alternative medical therapies for neck and back pain, conditions that account for more than one third of the more than 100 million annual visits to massage therapists in the United States. Almost all massage therapists in the United States use Swedish massage techniques aimed at relaxation, but only a minority take courses in such techniques as structural massage for treatment of chronic low back pain. Recent reviews have found limited evidence that massage is an effective treatment of chronic back pain, and no studies have compared relaxation massage with structural massage, which focuses on correcting soft-tissue abnormalities. We therefore conducted a trial to determine whether relaxation massage reduces pain and improves function in patients with chronic low back pain and compared relaxation and structural massage for treating this condition…”

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