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Deep Tissue Bodywork

Research Spotlight

The databases often return hundreds of medical studies for a single wellness approach. This section summarizes a sampling of five studies – providing just a taste of the available research. These Spotlights were not selected because they are the most favorable or the most recent, but to provide you an introduction to the more extensive research you'll uncover searching the four databases found in the “Research” section of this site.

  • Deep-Tissue Massage Lowers Blood Pressure & Heart Rate
    A Louisiana State University study on the effect of deep tissue massage therapy on blood pressure and heart rate found that 45- and 60-minute deep tissue massages led to an average systolic pressure reduction of 10.4 mm - a diastolic pressure reduction of 5.3 mm – a mean arterial pressure reduction of 7.0 mm - and an average heart rate reduction of 10.8 beats per minute.
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  • Deep-Tissue/Structural Massage Effective for Lower Back Pain
    In the first randomized controlled trial to compare structural and relaxation (Swedish) massage’s effects on lower back pain, Group Health Research Institute found that both a course of deep-tissue/structural and Swedish massage worked roughly equally well, with benefits as strong as those reported for other effective lower back pain treatments including medications, acupuncture, exercise and yoga.
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  • Small Stanford University Study Shows Myofascial Structural Integration Promising for Young Children With Cerebral Palsy
    A small, preliminary randomized study by Stanford University’s School of Medicine showed myofascial structural integration therapy led to improvements in motor function for children aged 2-7 with spastic cerebral palsy – suggesting it holds promise as a novel complementary treatment for these children.
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  • Myofascial Therapy Beneficial for Women with Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome
    A Loyola University Medical Center randomized controlled trial comparing 10 scheduled treatments with myofascial physical therapy vs. global therapeutic massage found that both therapies led to improvements in pain, urgency and frequency ratings for women with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome and pelvic floor tenderness. But a significantly higher proportion of women responded to treatment with myofascial physical therapy than to global therapeutic massage.
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  • Case of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Reported After Vigorous Deep-Tissue Massage
    Stanford University reported a single case of VTE following a vigorous deep tissue massage in a previously healthy 67-year-old man with no other identifiable risk factors. While there are few reports that deep-tissue massage leads to VTE, the researchers concluded that vigorous massage should be evaluated as a possible risk factor for VTE, especially in older adults.
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