Research Identifies the Ideal Frequency of Massage for Treating Chronic Neck Pain

ghri_logoDreamclinic massage therapist Michael Jacobus recently took part in a research study to determine the ideal frequency of massage for treating chronic neck pain. The study, designed and conducted by Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, utilized massage as a treatment for nonspecific neck pain (neck pain not related to a specific incident or injury). Jacobus was one of the massage therapists selected to administer the Group Health study.
The research study participants were divided into groups that each received a different frequency and duration of massage treatment over a 4-week span. The researchers measured neck-related pain and dysfunction both before and after the treatment period.

Their conclusion? The optimal dose and frequency for achieving meaningful improvement in chronic neck pain is 60 minutes of massage, 2-3 times per week. The researchers found that “multiple 60-minute massages per week [were] more effective than fewer or shorter sessions for individuals with chronic neck pain.”
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Jacobus shared, “I loved working on the [Group Health] research project. My hope is that the results of this study will direct future massage research. The more this data can be replicated, the more relevance it has to further validate massage as an effective treatment for chronic neck pain.”
To read the study abstract, visit

Michael Jacobus has been practicing massage since 1996. He has instructed in top massage schools in the Pacific Northwest and continues to teach kinesiology and muscle anatomy to massage & yoga students and professionals. You can find Michael at Dreamclinic’s Queen Anne Location located in the MarQueen Hotel in Seattle.

Home Remedy for Easing Neck Pain

by Wayne T, LMP

Practice this self-help technique regularly to reduce or eliminate neck pain and tension. For this simple at-home trick, all you need is a towel and a hair-tie or rubber band.

1. Just before bed, take a regular length bath towel (or beach towel) and lay it out flat on the floor or bed.

2. Roll the towel lengthwise, so it is long and skinny.towelfairviewebenezerorg

Once it is rolled up, hang the towel around your neck so that both ends dangle in front of you.

3. Place the hair-tie or rubber band around both ends, halfway up the towel’s hanging length, to bind the loose ends together. You should now look like you’re wearing a towel as a neck tie!

4. Without a pillow, lay on your back in bed, with your head relaxed over the rolled towel and chin slightly lifted. This helps to promote the natural curvature in your neck as you sleep.

5. Enjoy a nap or wonderful night’s rest, knowing that when you wake up, you won’t spend 20 minutes rubbing that sore spot in your neck where the pain used to be.

~ This article was written by Wayne T. a massage therapist at Dreamclinic’s Roosevelt location. He attributes a great deal of his knowledge of massage, and the injury recovery process, to the treatment he received after being hit by a car as a pedestrian while enrolled in massage school. When he is not with a client, Wayne loves to play guitar and juggle just about anything he can get his hands on.

Reduce Neck Pain & Tension

by Diana Khoury

Neck pain and tension is common in today’s society. It can be caused by an injury or by sitting, standing, walking or sleeping in a poor position. Neck tension is exacerbated by stress, creating an imbalance in the internal environment of the body and disturbing its normal functioning.

Seven of the body’s eleven major systems pass through the neck.* Tension restricts range of motion and inhibits the pathways that allow blood, lymph, hormones, spinal fluid, nerve impulses, food and air to travel between the head and the rest of the body.

sternocleidomastoid2“Physical structures [become locked] when the body fails to adapt to an overload of stress. This may result in pain, stiffness, numbness and postural distortions. In addition, the body’s capacity to co-ordinate its functions is undermined.”1Since multiple systems are affected, it is no wonder that constriction of the neck area has a direct, negative impact on the entire body and on one’s overall health.

Structurally, a stiff neck is caused by contraction of the musculature. “When the neck is tense, the shoulders rise and the chin moves up and forward, causing further misalignment and pain. Neck tension can often lead to tension headaches, a problem affecting 78 percent of the general population.”2

Chronic neck tension has a ripple effect on the nervous system. Since “the lower neck supplies the nerves to the arms, there may be pain or numbness in the shoulder, arm or hand. Muscles may be weakened, resulting in difficulty in grasping objects. The tension in the neck may cause headaches or pain in the face or jaw…Body stress in the neck area may also have an impact on nerve connections to internal organs, such as the heart, lungs and digestive system, undermining normal function.”1

Many people simply accept neck problems as a part of life, but this does not have to be the case. To decrease daily stress and support a healthy neck:

  • Practice good posture. Research ergonomics or take a yoga class to learn and use proper posture while working at the computer, sitting, standing and walking.
  • Take rest breaks from computer use every 20 minutes. Give your eyes and brain a rest, and take a stretch to lengthen muscles that have stiffened while sitting.
  • Drink plenty of water. Hydration transports essential nutrients to your cells.
  • Breathe. When you feel stress increasing, pause. Take a few deep breaths, and exhale fully. This soothes the nervous system and reduces stress hormone levels.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercising increases circulation, flexibility and improves oxygen flow to the brain.
  • Get plenty of sleep. The body needs rest, even more so when stressed. Sleep on your back instead of the stomach, to avoid craning the neck to one side.
  • Book a massage. Research and empirical evidence show that massage effectively releases muscle tension and pain, improves range of motion, and reduces stress levels in the body. You may feel relief from neck pain and tension in as little as one massage session, yet continuous relief can be found by making it a part of your ongoing wellness plan.

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or your workplace experience greater health.

* Skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems.


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