Does massage help breast surgery patients?

IT’S SOMETHING THAI SPAS have known all along but new research from the Mayo Clinic confirms that massage does provide stress relief as well as pain relief for most patients who have undergone breast surgery.

The research was conducted by Barb Thomley, co-ordinator of outpatient services in Mayo Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, the recipient of the 2010 Ruth Stricker Spa and Wellness Award.

The study showed: Stress relief was very effective in helping 82% of patients relax. Some 64% of patients found it very effective in relieving pain and another 31%, somewhat effective; while 82% found it very effective in creating a general feeling of wellness.

Here’s what some of the patients had to say about the use of massage in their treatments:

My pain was reduced by massage. It helped more so than any of my medications.

This is wonderful hands-on therapy that benefits the patient emotionally and physically.

This is an excellent complement to the standard health care provided by the doctors and nurses.

Thomley also confirmed that massage and other high-touch integrative therapy have the ability to transform the perception of patients of the care they receive during their hospital stay, adding “it’s important to continue to study the effects of these therapies and patients’ willingness to pay as we continue to educate health care providers and insurance plan providers on the benefits and ability to impact recovery”.

Thomley and Dr. Brent Bauer, director of Complemntary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic, outlined their findings during the 2011 ISPA Conference & Expo, in a presentation, focusing on the science behind massage.

In the next phase of the study, Thomley will evaluate how aromatherapy take-home kits and preloaded MP3 players with guided imagery exercises contribute to patient feeling after they’ve been discharged from hospital.

“ISPA Foundation is happy to be part of research initiatives like the Ruth Stricker Spa and Wellness Award that deliver important data for the spa and wellness communities,” said ISPA Foundation President Heff Kohl.

“The more insight we have into the positive effects of spa treatments, the more we can educate the public and health care industry to make spa visits part of their wellness routine.”

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