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Massage Beats Pain Meds

Iím not one to question the health benefits of a good massageóand if anyone wants to rub my back, I wonít say no.

Volunteers, feel free to drop me a line.

Meanwhile, a new study finds that the hands-on treatment doesnít just feel great it can actually bring more relief for back pain than powerful drugs. Researchers assigned 401 back pain patients to either the ďusualĒ care aka drugs and generic advice or one of two forms of massage: Swedish or Structural. If you know anything about this stuff, you know that the Swedes aim for relaxation, while structural massage tries to ease damaged tissue. If you forgot which is which, donít worry--- because 10 weeks of either was enough to chase the pain away, boost mobility, and improve function better than the usual care.

The researchers cut the massages off at the 10 week mark--- how cruel! Ė but the benefits actually lasted for four more months. A year later, however the patients were back to square one Ė but just how long do you expect 10 weeks of massage to last anyway? The lesson here is to keep at it as long as it feels good.

I should warn you, however, that massage does come with at least on big drug-like risk: it can be highly addictive. Iím a massage junkie myself and I donít think Iíll ever be able to shake the habit.

Iíll let you decide which addiction is healthier.

Even if youíre not battling back pain--- and congratulations, by the way, because youíre in the minority Ė donít feel left out: massage can ease stress, boost the immune system, fight depression and more.

What Iím saying here is you donít need an excuse Ė now go get yourself a massage . . . doctorís orders . . .

ó Great article by a Doctor (William Campbell Douglas II)

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