Deep-Tissue Massage Shown to Reduce Blood Pressure and Heart Rate


According to a recent study at the Health Sciences Center at Louisiana State University, deep-tissue massage was found to have a beneficial effect on reducing blood pressure and heart rate. In this study, 263 volunteers agreed to receive deep-tissue massage and be examined for its effect on diastolic, systolic and mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate. All participants had significant pain prior to the study and experienced moderate or severe overall pain. Prior to the massages, baseline diastolic systolic and mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate were measured by an automatic blood-pressure cuff. Each participant then received a deep-tissue massage for between 45 and 60 minutes long. Following the massage sessions, blood pressure and heart rates were measured again and compared with the baseline measures. The results from the study that ran from November 2004 and March 2006 came back that following the deep-tissue massage, average systolic pressure was reduced an average of 10.4 millimeters or mercury, diastolic pressure was reduced 5.3 millimeters of mercury and a the mean arterial pressure was reduced 7/0 millimeters of mercury. Heart-rate data showed an average heart-rate reduction of 10.8 beats per minute. Source: Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2008 Mar;14(2):125-8. “The effect of deep-tissue massage therapy on blood pressure and heart rate.” Kaye AD, Kaye AJ, Swinford J, Baluch A, Bawcom BA, Lambert TJ, Hoover JM. Department of Anesthesiology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA. AIM: In the present study, we describe the effects of deep tissue massage on systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study involved 263 volunteers (12% males and 88% females), with an average age of 48.5. Overall muscle spasm/muscle strain was described as either moderate or severe for each patient. Baseline blood pressure and heart rate were measured via an automatic blood pressure cuff. Twenty-one (21) different soothing CDs played in the background as the deep tissue massage was performed over the course of the study. The massages were between 45 and 60 minutes in duration. The data were analyzed using analysis of variance with post-hoc Scheffe’s F-test. RESULTS: Results of the present study demonstrated an average systolic pressure reduction of 10.4 mm Hg (p<0.06), a diastolic pressure reduction of 5.3 mm Hg (p<0.04), a mean arterial pressure reduction of 7.0 mm Hg (p<0.47), and an average heart rate reduction of 10.8 beats per minute (p<0.0003), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Additional scientific research in this area is warranted.

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