How Massage Therapy Could Provide Relief from Opioid Abuse

July 5, 2017
Ryan Barichello

Millions of dollars in government funding are flowing toward prevention, education and treatment of opioid use. That flow has rarely included funding of complementary therapies such as massage or acupuncture, despite such therapies’ indicated pain-relieving abilities, low cost and safety.


In a recently published article entitled, “This is How Massage Might Provide Relief from the Despair of Drug Abuse,” author and expert, Karen Menehan, writes:


“Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50, according to data compiled by the New York Times,” adding that the release of three reviews on the benefits of massage therapy for pain relief could raise massage therapy’s profile—for it is pain that drives many Americans to an opioid prescription—and sometimes on to opioid or heroin abuse; addiction; and, too often, overdose.


“All three reviews ran online in the journal Pain Medicine, published by Oxford University Press—and although the studies were first published a little more than a year ago, they are still being shared and referred to by media outlets, business websites and educational institutions,” she writes.

Incorporating massage into a substance abuse program is advantageous in all of the stages of quitting an addiction: withdrawal, detoxification and abstinence. The physical, emotional and spiritual components of recovery all can be directly benefited by the healing power of therapeutic touch. The nurturing contact of massage utilizes skin as the translator of the therapist’s intent.


“Massage therapy is the evidence-based new thinking that will, with other integrative, non-pharmacologic approaches, help pain medicine overcome the current opioid-focused old thinking that has devastated so many lives,” writes Menehan.


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Verified by Nick Gabriele.