Here are a few scientific facts which will satisfy the most sceptical or rational observers. 

Touch Research Institute (University of Miami)
The Touch Research Institute (TRI) was created in 1992 by the faculty of medicine of the University of Miami. It is the only research centre in the world devoted to the study of touching and its scientific and medical implications. Under the direction of doctor Tiffany Field, Ph.D., a team of TRI researchers from several universities including Harvard, Princeton and McGill, attempt to determine how touch promotes health and contributes to the treatment of illness. Ongoing research undertaken in the United States in 1982, as well as in research centres in the Philippines and in Paris, have demonstrated that touch therapy have many beneficial effects on human health.

These studies have confirmed that massage therapy reduces symptoms related to depression, lowers anxiety, reduces the presence of stress related hormones, controls pain and reinforces the immune system. It also contributes to a weight gain in premature babies. 

Here, in more detail, is what several recent studies have to say about massage therapy : 

A 15 minute chair massage twice a week for five weeks to 26 workers reduced stress and anxiety levels and markedly increased their production. Following this treatment, the subjects were asked to perform a series mathematical calculations. They completed the calculations in half the time and committed 50% less errors than subjects who only relaxed during the same time period. Electroencephalogram studies (graphic tracing of electric activity in the brain) also showed that subjects who had received massages were in a higher state of mental activity than subjects in the control group. 

Approximately 100 members of the medical staff of a large public hospital were given short sessions of massage therapy, music therapy and relaxation which significantly reduced anxiety, depression and fatigue levels. Short massage therapy and relaxation sessions could prove beneficial to the medical personnel of hospitals which are experiencing over crowding problems.

A 30 minute back massage administered to hospitalized children who were greatly perturbed and depressive, succeeded not only in reducing levels of anxiety and depression but also greatly reduced the quantity of stress hormones. Nurses also noticed that the treated patients became more co-operative and that their sleep improved.

A study showed that massage therapy stimulates the production of a substance similar to serotonin which is found in analgesics. Massage allows you to avoid increased pain fighting medication which may cause dependence. Massage therapy is, therefore, the treatment of choice in combating paediatric pain.

A study conducted on HIV positive patients who had undergone massage therapy 5 days a week for 1 month, showed that treatment had not only reduced anxiety and stress but had significantly increased the number of defence cells in the body. Massage therapy therefore reinforces the immune system thereby reducing the risk of potentially deadly infection.

It is well known that most people who stop smoking must cope with mood swings and increased anxiety. A study done on 24 subjects wishing to stop smoking and who had been advised to use a form of self massage at least three times a day when a strong nicotine craving occurred, allowed a greater number of them to reduce their dependence. Subjects using the self massage technique were less anxious, less moody and were able to reduce their dependence in only 4 weeks. 

Massage therapy administered to 24 women suffering from pre-menstrual syndrome confirmed that massage therapy was effective in reducing their symptoms. Anxiety and distress levels were reduced and cramps and menstrual pain were were diminished following treatment.

A study done on 26 adults suffering from migraines who received a 30 minute massage therapy twice a week for 5 weeks was conclusive. Massage therapy treatment substantially reduced both the frequency and the intensity of migraines. The treatments also improve the quality of sleep and reduced the consumption of analgesics in these subjects. 

Massage therapy treatments, administered by elderly persons to premature babies or babies who had been exposed to drugs or narcotics during their development, confirmed that it is as beneficial to give as to receive a massage. The results in the elderly showed a low level of depression and an increase in self esteem and a decrease in the number of visits to the doctor while the new-borns were more active following the treatment. 

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