Massage therapy: Understanding the mechanisms of action on blood pressure. A scoping review
Massage therapy (MT) has shown potential in reducing blood pressure (BP); however, the psychophysiological pathways and structures involved in this outcome are unclear. The aims of this scoping review were twofold. (1) To summarize the current knowledge of the mechanisms of action of MT on BP. (2) To highlight the research gaps and challenges that researchers must overcome to further elucidate how MT attenuates BP. A scoping review was conducted to examine the evidence regarding the mechanisms of action of MT on BP. This review included the thematic analysis of 27 publications that considered the influence of MT on BP. Based on this analysis, six potential BP mediating pathways were identified Current theories suggest that MT exerts sympatholytic effects through physiologic and psychological mechanisms, improves hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenocortical axis function, and increases in blood flow, which, in turn, may improve endothelial function. Future study is needed, using more scientifically rigorous methodology, to fully elucidate the mechanism of action of MT.
Journal of the American Society of Hypertension
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Nelson. (2015). Massage therapy: understanding the mechanisms of action on blood pressure. A scoping review. Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, 9(10), 785–793. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jash.2015.07.009