Knee pain is one of the most common problems experienced by Americans. New massage therapy research indicates that massage therapy can improve outcomes for knee pain sufferers.
According to a 2012 Gallup-Healthways study, 26% of U.S. adults suffer from chronic knee-pain. Above the age of 50, that percentage rises to more than a third. However, recent research suggests that massage therapy, specifically the technique myofascial release, has positive outcomes for knee pain sufferers both in terms of pain management and the improvement of disability.
The October 2016 Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies includes a study by Gustavo Telles et. al. entitled "The effect of adding myofascial techniques to an exercise programme for patients with anterior knee pain." The study looked at 18 patients clinically diagnosed with anterior knee pain and compared the effects of a treatment program involving strengthening exercises to one that also included myofascial release techniques.
Myofascial release is a form of manual therapy that targets fascia, a layer of connective tissue located between the skin and the muscles. Through a series of gentle stretching and warming techniques, the fascial tissue is softened in order to eliminate restrictions and restore motion. The subjects in Telles's study were separated into two groups, one that performed exercises to strengthen the hip muscles, and a second group that performed these same exercises and also received myofascial treatment. Both treatments resulted in lessened knee pain for the participants, but only the myofascial group demonstrated improved mobility as well.
Scientific research into the impact of massage therapy benefits both therapists and clients. Keeping up to date on the latest research can help you develop best practices for treatment and educate your clients about the many ways massage therapy can improve their lives.