From Löffler, A., et al. “Visually induced analgesia during massage treatment in chronic back pain patients.” European Journal of Pain (2017).
Previous research findings suggest that visual feedback on treating chronic pain can exert an analgesic effect. A new study from Germany investigated whether watching one’s back during massage increases the analgesic effect of this treatment in chronic lower back pain patients. The research was published European Journal of Pain.
Twenty patients with chronic back pain were treated with a 20-minute massage therapy session. During this treatment, patients received a real-time video feedback of their own back with a monitor placed below the headrest. Watching a neutral object, a video of another person of the same sex being massaged, a static picture of their own back, and keeping one’s eyes closed, were used as controls. These conditions were presented in randomized order on five separate days.
The results showed that all conditions yielded significant decreases in habitual pain intensity. The effect of real-time video feedback of their own back during massage treatment was the strongest and differed significantly from the effect of watching a neutral object, but not from the other control conditions, which may have induced slight effects of their own.
The authors stressed the importance of visual-somatosensory integration in pain perception and concluded that repeated real-time video feedback may be useful during massage treatment of chronic pain. Massage therapists may think about installing a video camera so clients can watch the back being massaged 🙂
This blog post article was reproduced with permission from Terra Rosa.