Research has found massage therapy can be effective at reducing levels of pain, depression and anxiety for prolonged periods of time in individuals suffering from chronic low back, neck and/or shoulder pain.

Walach H, Guthlin C, Konig M. Efficacy of massage therapy in chronic pain: A pragmatic randomized trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2003; 9(6): 837-846.

This study included individuals diagnosed with chronic low back, neck and/or shoulder pain.  It compared patients who received standard medical care for pain including pharmacologic therapy and advice on posture or exercises versus massage treatment. The researchers measured levels of pain, depression, anxiety and mood pre- and post- treatment as well as at 3 months follow-up.  Results showed pain, depression and anxiety significantly improved in both groups but symptom reduction lasted at the 3 month follow up only in the massage group.

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