Recent research shared in Massage Today has shown that individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa may benefit from massage therapy as a course of their overall treatment. Anorexia is a chronic illness affecting both adolescents and adults. People with anorexia may relapse and often need hospitalization if their weight drops so low that there is a significant medical threat.
Individuals suffering from anorexia can be a challenging population to work with through the treatment process, however, in several recent research studies, massage therapy has shown a positive effect on their nutritional health and dietary behaviors.
Research groups compared the effects of acupuncture, acupressure and massage in a population of inpatients with anorexia.
Treatment focused on healthy weight, eating behaviors and used a treatment team including nutritionists and psychologists. Adjunct therapies including massage therapy were used in order to help improve the effectiveness of existing treatments and lead to improved outcomes with the anorexia patients.
Patients received massage therapy treatments after acupressure sessions to the back and shoulders using Swedish massage techniques. After receiving massage, participants reported feeling less anxiety and depression, and an improvement in overall quality of life.
Participants described their massage therapy positively and also reported positive experiences regarding the interactions with the massage therapists, helping them to experience a sense of calmness and relaxation.
Research is showing good preliminary support for massage to safely improve well-being for anorexia patients. Massage may be beneficial in treatment of many anorexia symptoms, and a positive therapeutic relationship between patients and practitioners improves patient symptoms even more.