It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that massage therapy can be effective for stress relief.
Stress is a prevalent component in today’s fast-paced world which can negatively impact on an individual’s health and well-being. Massage therapy has been shown to be a means by which stress can be reduced significantly on physical and psychological levels. While massage therapists know from experience that massage reduces stress, there is considerable research that validates our experience.
In a study on the effect of trigger point therapy, there was a significant decrease in heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure. Measures of oxygen consumption, blood pressure, and salivary cortisol levels were all lower after a 10 to 15 minute chair massage in controlled studies. Changes in psychological states have been measured by physiological responses, the Perceived Stress Scale, the POMS Depression Scale, and the Anxiety State Scale.
In the attached studies, all subjects in the massage group showed significant changes in emotional states and stress levels.