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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

Massage Tips and Trivia: Regular Massage May Reduce The Need For Painkillers

"Receiving regular massage for chronic conditions may reduce the need for painkillers and opioids."

There is a meme about massage that states "The effects of massage wear off after a few days. So do the effects of bathing - which is why it is recommended to do both frequently." Just like exercise, learning a new skill, or training, consistency is key for maximum benefits. When the body is recovering from an injury or dealing with a condition, massage rarely fixes it immediately, especially if the issue is chronic or has been around for a while. Nonetheless, getting a massage regularly can help ease the pain from the issues a little bit more with each massage. If the massage is done consistently, the goal is for the effects of the massage to "stick" or last longer after each appointment. If the effects start lasting longer, the hope is that the effects include a decrease in pain which should then result in a decrease in the use of painkillers and pills. There have been numerous queries raised and studies started on wether an increase in the availability and use of massage therapy can help stem the ongoing opioid epidemic. While the findings are positive for massage, the results never seem to make it very far with governing bodies. (Which makes sense since the groups making the painkillers have a lot more money than massage therapists.)

While massage therapy can't cure everything, and yes, there are times when painkillers are necessary, adding consistent massage for chronic issues may indeed help reduce the frequency or strength of painkillers that someone would need to take to achieve the same results. And painkillers aren't the only medications that massage can help taper down. Regular massage can help lower blood pressure, anxiety, and more things that people get medicated for. Massage is not a silver bullet that fixes everything, but which seems more enticing: a health care routine that involves pumping a body full of chemicals, or a health care routine that involves getting a massage?

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