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Studies provide insight into the biological effects of massage therapy.

Atlanta School of Massage (ASM) and Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences have partnered to study the biological effects of massage therapy in healthy individuals. The study is a continuation of an earlier study led by Mark Hyman Rapaport, MD, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. These studies confirm the sustained physiological effects of Swedish massage therapy, as compared to a control group, in healthy individuals.

According to a statement from Dr. Rapaport in a recent Emory University Newsletter, “We believe that understanding of the mechanisms of action underlying the effects of massage and light touch in healthy individuals − including the effect of different frequency regimens on different biological systems − will help to guide the design of studies aimed at specific therapeutic effects for targeted populations.”

“Since Dr. Rapaport’s arrival at Emory last September, our school has worked extensively with his research group to develop the training tools, establish research protocols and provide professional and reliable research trained staff to ensure the successful completion of massage research protocols at Emory,” says Leticia Allen, president of Atlanta School of Massage.

“Partnerships between researchers and massage therapists are invaluable as they enable all those involved to contribute their expertise while gaining exposure to other fields from qualified individuals. In other words, the scientists can be scientists and the massage therapists can be massage therapists and both groups will be better prepared for further collaboration,” comments Erika Larson. Dr. Rapaport will be speaking at the 2013 International Massage Therapy Research Conference in Boston, MA., hosted by the Massage Therapy Foundation.

This unique partnership includes Lovelace Linares, ASM Massage Program Director and team liaison, ASM massage therapist researchers Erika Larson, Dedric Carroll, Laureen Dietrick and Brittney Turnes.

Links to the collaborative studies, published 2010 and 2012, respectively, are as follows:

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