New Research on Massage Benefits

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Sleep for Chronic Pain Sufferers

This year at the University of Alberta, a small pilot study taught patients to self-administer shiatsu pressure technique onto their hands at bedtime. Participants reported falling asleep faster and sleeping longer after two weeks, and then again after eight weeks, compared with a baseline measurement. One patient with debilitating, chronic lower-back pain who was cited as an example spent 10-15 minutes every night performing the treatment. Instead of waking up every 45-60 minutes as she had been, she was able to sleep for 90-120 minutes at a time. The patient reported an enormous improvement in feeling rested. Because pain and fear of pain is a barrier to sleep, researchers hypothesize that the shiatsu may be effective in part because it requires cognitive concentration that provides a mental distraction.