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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Health Answers

Is massage always helpful for pain conditions?

Q. Is massage always helpful for pain conditions? Can it be harmful?

A. Research has supported what many massage recipients feel: Therapeutic massage can have positive effects on many kinds of pain. A 2011 randomized controlled clinical trial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, for instance, found that both structural and relaxation styles of massage helped ease pain and improve function in patients with chronic low back pain, and studies have found massage can improve pain caused by muscle soreness, cancer treatment, major surgery, and tension headaches.

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