Research Studies


When overworked 3rd year medical students were given just a single massage, the number of disease fighting T-cells in the blood significantly increased according to a recent survey.


71% of office staff sit at a desk for 5-8 hours a day, after receiving regular on-site massage, 72% of those treated, said they felt it improved their concentration & work performance.


Massaging & singing lullabies to premature babies in special care units can help them to put on weight & help them leave hospital earlier, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found that playing music & giving a massage once or twice a day reduced the average hospital stay by 1 day for girls & 1 and half days for boys. Mothers who actually sang lullabies to their offspring produced the best results of all.


Massage & Shiatsu benefits the back in prone position (face down) after studying the psychophysiological effects of massage. Together with Shiatsu, researchers found that the two body works increased skin temperature, decreased blood pressure & reduced pain.

J.Inagaki et al. Observed 24 healthy women for 50 minutes in a prone position. The women then were given 15 minutes of massage & Shiatsu followed by 15 minutes of prone position. Every 5 minutes throughout the study, measurements were taken of skin temperature, blood pressure & pulse rate. Significant findings after the study were an increase in skin temperature along the back & lower blood pressure. Subjects were found to have decreased pain.

The study appeared in August 2002 issue of Nursing & Health Science.


A US study has found massaging babies & toddlers with an emollient for 20 minutes a day for 4 weeks could relieve the symptoms of eczema. The massaged babies had reduced redness, itching & dryness compared with those who weren't treated.


Exploring a massage intervention for parents & their children with Autism. Cullen-Powella, Barlow JH, Cushway.D.Journal of Child Health care Dec 2005,vol 9 (4);p245-55.

Aim of study was to assess what touch means between parents & their Autistic children on completion of a massage intervention & weather parents feel massage changes their relationship with their children.

Subjects/method: Data was collected from 14 parents who were interviewed before & immediately after the massage & 16 weeks after intervention. At baseline parents were upset & distressed that they were unable to get 'close' to their children. Results/conclusion; Parents reported feeling physically & emotionally closer to their children after massage, these benefits were maintained for parents who continued to use massage at home after this.


The feeling is akin to being "tucked into bed by your mother" says Mary Hannigan of Tuscon, Arizona, originator of what she has named La Stone therapy. Performed with black river stones heated in water & strategically placed along the body. This therapy has recently in the last few years been introduced to the UK. Each heated stone brings oxygenated blood rapidly to the muscles beneath it. While a traditional Swedish massage aids circulation, this additional, rapid effect of heat "pulling blood into tissues helps repair chronic & acute pain".

Stones are placed on energy centres along the front & back of the body. " you must experience it at least once in your life" says one recent recipient "like beaming sun rays melting their way through chunks of ice, the heated stones chase the last bits of tension from my muscles".


A small scale study at the Horton Hospital, Banbury has resulted in a suggestion that regular massage by the woman's partner before & during labour can substantially reduce the need for pain killing drugs. The maternity hospital also suggests massage "encourages a sense of calm" with the babies being more placid & alert at birth.

The study was done on 35 women, with a massage programme for three evenings a week each for 30 minutes. The study was encouraged by the medical staff at the hospital. Growing particularly concerned at the level of interventions in childbirth involving drugs or surgery. The manager of the delivery suite 'Anne Haines' said "this programme supports our maternity units philosophy of active childbirth, encouraging drug-free labour that create conditions for natural hormonal impulses to occur".


POSITIVELY PRONE- THE IMPROTANCE OF BABIES HAVING TIME ON THEIR TUMMIES. author Lorraine Tolley source:connections vol Issue 4, June 2003.

In the 1990's the "Back to sleep" campaign was launched in response to the concerns of the causes of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Although medical opinion still supports putting baby to sleep on their back. Some practitioners are now being alerted to the possible negative developmental effects that maybe related to a baby not spending any time at all in the prone (face down) position.

Devala Dookan (Head of Physiotherapy at Great Ormond Street Hospital & other health care workers have noticed that over recent years many babies were still not able to crawl by the age of 10 months. It was evident that many of the babies who could not crawl had never been exposed to the prone position. Some occupational therapists have began to identify increased cases of children with poor strength in the shoulder & arm area. Which can lead to a poor sitting posture, putting a baby in the prone position whilst awake & supervised for regular short periods of time could potentially spare him problems in later life. If a baby is allowed to spend small periods of waking time lying on his tummy he is more likely to be increasing strength in his neck & upper body, which is important for developing the stability required for crawling. Infant massage can play a key role in offering a baby an enjoyable way to experience lying on his tummy whilst having a back massage.

Further reading; Kirby,A "Dyspraxia;coordination problems" community practitioner vol74 Issue 8, August 2001.



Parents want more alternative medicine options for their kids Monday 12th April, 2010

A US survey has found that 90% of parents who explore alternative medicine options for the treatment of their children. Participants in the survey expressed concerns about the reliance of drugs to treat child behavioural problems such as ADHD & 75% want to see hospitals provide practitioners in both alternative & conventional medicine.

The survey, conducted by Children's Hospitals & clinics of Minnesota, also found 68% of parents believed integrative medicine ( combining alternative therapies with western medicine) would be effective & of those children who'd been through integrative treatment, 95% of parents were positive about it.

'Many children with chronic or acute health conditions seek complementary or integrative approach after they have exhausted all other conventional treatment options' said Timothy Culbert, a spokesman from Childrens Hospital.

'Parents should be aware that integrative medicine can be helpful from the onset of disease & can save time, money & most importantly improve a child's quality of life. This is true of all kinds of conditions including acute illnesses like cancer or chronic problems like migraines or behavioural issues.'

Culbert also commented that communication between parents & children's doctors was important to understand the types of integrative therapies available.

There are so many different kinds of complementary therapies, it's important to learn about options to find an approach that will work best for each patient' he said. ' I see first hand every day the difference it can make in a child's life.'

Alternative medicine commonly used on child cancer patients Thursday 8th April 2010

A team of researchers at the University of Southampton carried out a systematic review of 28 studies totalling 3,526 children from 14 countries over 30 years (1975-2005). Twenty-three of the studies were carried out between 2000 & 2005, ten of which were performed in the US.

The research team found that 2-48% of children surveyed used remedies while 3-47% used dietary & nutritional interventions. Other modalities include massage, mind body therapies & faith healing.

Reasons for using complementary & alternative medicine included relief of symptoms from the cancer itself or standard (e.g. chemotherapy, radiotherapy) & helping to fight or cure the child's cancer. Use of complementary therapies were not found to have any association to the child's gender, age, ethnicity or family income.

Authors of the research paper which was first published online in paediatrics cautioned that 'pediatric oncologists need to be aware that their patients (& the patients' parents) will be seeking & integrating other therapeutic approaches while undergoing conventional treatments' because some commonly used herbs & supplements can negatively interact with standard cancer treatments.


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