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Many people suffer from myofascial pain (a fancy word for pain originating in muscles or other soft tissues). They have visited doctor after doctor finally to be told "We can't find anything wrong with you." The solution is often medication, which works until the medication wears off. Sometimes operations are performed when the problem can be addressed, and possibly eliminated, by massage.

I started this blog to educate people about what massage can and cannot do. Here you'll find articles about conditions that can be improved or addressed with massage. You'll find information about different types of massage, their benefits and limitations. I'll address how you can use massage on your own to improve your performance in exercise or sports (or in other repetitive motion activities such as playing the guitar or working at a computer).

Use the search bar below to search for specific problems. If you don't find what you're looking for, please email and ask me. You can find my email address below on the right, under "about me". Click on "View my complete profile".


DISCLAIMER: I am a massage therapist, NOT a doctor. This blog is NOT intended as medical advice. No information herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a licensed physician. The opinions expressed here are my own. The author will assume no liability for use of the information contained herein.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Placebo Effect: Part 1

The placebo effect is just now beginning to be studied and understood. However, the placebo effect does not indicate that "all things can be healed by the mind". Part of any type of therapy is the placebo effect. Understanding the placebo effect can go a long way in helping someone begin a healing process.

The opposite of the placebo effect, so to speak, is the nocebo effect. When someone expects negative side effects from a medication, even if the medication is a sugar pill, they often have those effects (such as nausea or pain).

This video from TheProfessorFunk comes to us from YouTube:

Massage, as with all therapies, can trigger a placebo effect. Is massage better than placebo? Massage studies are notoriously difficult to design because you cannot create a "sugar pill massage". Any touch could have an unforeseen effect. In addition blinding massage studies is impossible because the therapist must know what kind of massage they are delivering.

So then, is massage effective? Is it better than a placebo. There are certainly many myths that surround massage therapy. On the other hand, any massage therapist will tell you that they have sometimes seen amazing almost miraculous results from massage. Science will ask questions like how consistent are these effects or how long do the effects last?

As a massage therapist and a skeptic I often witness therapists making what I believe to be outrageous claims about massage (and other alternative medicines). Many massage "modalities" being promoted today are nothing more than good PR sometimes backed by very shoddy research. Much of what is promoted by massage educators is, at the very least, bogus. In my personal opinion, any therapy with someones name attached to it is more marketing than medicine.

In general, massage often feels good. I believe there is significant research to say that massage is relaxing to the body. In the end, massage may effect a person more mentally than physically. The jury is still out.

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