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Study shows massage therapy is cost-effective

A recent study has shown what massage therapists have often thought was true: massage therapy is a cost-effective therapy that directly improves quality of life measures.

August 4, 2015  By Massage Therapy Canada staff

In the study entitled, Analysis of Provider Specialties in the Treatment of Patients with Clinically Diagnosed Back and Joint Problems (Wilson FA, et al), researchers looked at the cost-effectiveness of improving patient outcomes in patients with back and joint pain. In this study, researchers collected data from specific treatment providers: doctors (internal medicine, family/general, osteopathic medicine, orthopedics, rheumatology, neurology) or other providers (chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist, massage therapist).

“Cost-effectiveness analysis suggests that osteopathic, family/general, internal medicine doctors and chiropractors and massage therapists were more cost-effective than other specialties in improving physical function to back pain patients,” the study found.

The study further noted, “However, only massage therapy was cost-effective among non-doctor providers in improving quality of life measures.”

A total of 16,546 respondents aged 18 to 85 and clinically diagnosed with back/joint pain were examined. Self-reported measures of physical and mental health and general quality of life (measured by the EuroQol-5D) were compared with average total costs of treatment across medical providers.


“Registered massage therapists have known for decades that quality of life issues were improved or greatly improved, according to anecdotal evidence,” said registered massage therapists of B.C. president, Joseph Lattanzio.

BC’s RMTs are primary health-care professionals and have been a part of the province’s Medical Services Plan since its inception in 1968. Committed to every aspect of health and pain-free functioning of the body, RMTs rely on their extensive training (among the highest standards in North America). Today’s RMTs embrace research and link it to their daily practice, including providing evidence-based education and remedial exercises to their patients.

“RMTs are trained to listen to their patients and to always act in the best interests of their patients. We provide treatment only when we reasonably believe it will improve our patients’ health,” said Lattanzio. “Now, we can do all this with the knowledge that RMTs also provide cost-effective treatment that has been shown to directly and positively impact quality of life.”

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