Massage therapy has some useful applications. It is not inherently pseudoscientific. But like medicine, education and practice in the field have seen considerable contamination by pseudoscience and fraud. The American Medical Massage Association (AMMA) is concerned and has taken a stand against such practices.
Recent data on massage therapy practice patterns published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine would seem to validate the concerns of the AMMA. Surveys conducted in Connecticut and Washington reveal the following respective percentages of massage therapists using questionable methods:
Applied kinesiology 2%, 5.8%
Craniosacral therapy 15.3%, 15.1%
Energy work 24.9%, 17.2%
Oriental bodywork 16.6%, 8.6%
Reflexology 15.0%, 15.4%
This paper provides us with new and confirmatory evidence to support Stephen Barrett’s previous assertion that quackery is pervasive in the field.
Here’s an account of one massage student’s experience.