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CATCM - Canadian Association of Therapists in Complementary Medicine

ACDM - Association Canadienne des Massothérapeutes  et Autres thérapeutes en Médecines Alternatives

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Literary search and editing by CATCM's team

According to a study conduct with 262 people, the massage is finally more effective than acupuncture to relieve the chronic back pain. This research was presented at the International Conference on Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine Research, which took place in San Francisco from the 17 to May 19, 2001, under the auspices of the Department of continuous medical education of the Medical school of the Harvard University and Osher Center for Integrative Medicine of the University of California in San Francisco.

The participants had suffered all from a persistent back pain for more than six weeks and were divided into three groups (acupuncture, therapeutic massage and educational material of assumption of autonomous responsibility). People of the groups of active treatment (massage and acupuncture) received up to ten treatments over one ten weeks period and one measured the evolution of the symptoms and the function after 4, 10 and 52 weeks.

The subjects received an average of 8 treatments of acupuncture and 8,3 massages. At the end of the ten weeks, these people were quite satisfied with their treatments (50 % for the massage and 37 % for acupuncture) comparatively the group which received only advices on assumption of responsibility autonomous (13 % of satisfaction).

According to researchers, the first evaluation after 4 weeks showed significant improvement neither for the symptoms (pain) nor for the function. On the other hand, at the time of the second evaluation at ten weeks, the symptoms and the function were improved significantly with an advantage of the massage on acupuncture and these two treatments on the autonomous assumption of responsibility.

But, surprised, at the end of one year people having received treatments of massage and advices of assumption of responsibility autonomous were in better state than those who had received treatments of acupuncture. The researchers note that during the 52 weeks of the analyzed period, the costs of treatment in external private clinic were 30 to 45 % lower for people having received a massage rather than advices or acupuncture. From where their conclusion that the therapeutic massage is an effective treatment, at short term as well as in the long run for the chronic backs pain and than it can reduce the later costs of treatment





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