Bad back? Ayurvedic massage can reduce chronic lower back pain

Many people try massage for relaxation and pain relief. In Ayurveda, massage and physical therapy have often been used to treat patients with chronic pain syndromes and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that Ayurvedic massage is also a safe and effective treatment for relieving low back pain in chronic low back pain patients.

Many people have experienced low back pain. In fact, approximately 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their life. Chronic back pain lasts for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institute of Health (NIH), low back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. A large survey also revealed that more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past three months.

Researchers in Germany looked at the safety and efficacy of Ayurvedic massage in nonspecific chronic low back pain by means of a randomized clinical trial. For the study, they recruited 64 participants with an average of 54.8 years who suffer from chronic low back pain.

The researchers carried out the study for a period of four weeks, which consisted of a two-week intervention phase followed by a two-week follow-up phase. They randomly assigned the participants into two groups. One group received a two-week massage group with six hours of Ayurvedic massage and external treatment, while the other group received a two-week local thermal therapy group. The researchers evaluated the outcomes at baseline and after two and four weeks.

The results of the study revealed that the participants who received six hours of Ayurvedic massage and external treatment for two weeks experienced greater reductions in back pain compared to those in the two-week local thermal therapy group at the second week. In addition, the Ayurvedic massage also improved pain-related bothersomeness and psychological well-being, but not function or disability. The Ayurvedic massage was also considered safe and well-tolerated.

The findings of the study suggested that Ayurvedic massage is a safe and effective treatment for chronic low back pain.

Ayurvedic massage and its other potential health benefits

Ayurvedic massage is also known as Abhyanga. An Ayurvedic massage is performed with warm essential oils. Ayurvedic massage uses essential oils to induce calmness and improve the sleep patterns and general sense of wellbeing of the recipient. Moreover, essential oils used in Ayurvedic massages can nourish and detoxify the body, helping to prevent aging and leaving the skin soft and shiny.

Ayurvedic massage therapy, as part of the Ayurvedic lifestyle, has been practiced for thousands of years already because of its significant health benefits. Studies today have also proven that this type of therapy is effective. One study found that people who received traditional Ayurvedic oil massage therapy experienced lower heart rates and stress levels. Those with prehypertension also experienced a reduction in blood pressure in addition to lower heart rates and stress levels. Ayurvedic massages can relieve stress and generate positive emotions, making the recipient feel better both physically and mentally. An Ayurvedic massage can also be used to relieve pain and can be used as a preventive medicine, improving circulation, stimulating and strengthening the lymphatic system, and opening the flow of life force to cleanse and revitalize the body. (Related: Naturally slow aging, increase mental awareness and eliminate impurities with Ayurvedic massage.)

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