When I opened my first medical massage clinic 25 years ago I was required by the county to obtain an adult entertainment license-no kidding. Fortunately things have changed and therapeutic massage is now beginning to receive the respect it deserves. Well-regarded health organizations are conducting on-going studies regarding the effects of massage therapy and main-stream media are reporting about its far-reaching benefits.

The National Institutes of Health, a division of the US Department of Health & Human Services, is one organization that is studying the tangible health benefits of massage therapy. In a recent controlled study, funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health-a division of NIH, massage therapy treatments were tested on study participants suffering from chronic neck pain. It was found that a significant and measurable improvement was seen in participants who received 60 minute massage treatments, 2–3 times per week. The study was published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

A protocol of 2-3 times per week can be cost and time prohibitive for many people. If this is the case, it is recommended that a patient receive treatments 2-3 times per week for four weeks, after which they are given self-care information and  follow up with a maintenance schedule that fits their financial and time constraints.

In Washington State, an “all medical providers” mandate requires insurance companies to provide massage therapy benefits for their members. This has helped many more people obtain therapeutic massage, than previously possible. In other states, insurance companies provide massage therapy benefits as a policy add-on or as a discount program.

Massage therapy is effective for neck pain and many other physical and mental ailments.  It is important to consult with your physician prior to receiving massage therapy to discuss whether massage therapy is appropriate for your specific condition. In most cases, massage therapy can provide a safe alternative or complementary solution for many health issues when administered by a qualified massage therapist.

Link to Study


Sherman KJ, Cook AJ, Wellman RD, et al. Five-week outcomes from a dosing trial of therapeutic massage for chronic neck pain. Annals of Family Medicine. 2014;12(2):112–120.