By David Herndon, Licensed Massage Therapist

In recent years, the massage therapy profession has aligned itself more and more closely with health care. Massage therapists have developed specialized skills in areas such as post-surgical recovery, symptom management for chronic medical conditions, recovery from injuries to muscles and ligaments, pain relief, elder care, and hospice care.

You may have personally experienced the relaxation, stress reduction, and deep sense of well-being that results from soothing massage in a tranquil setting with quiet music and soft lighting.

But therapeutic massage can also provide a range of physical and emotional benefits for people who are experiencing a medical challenge. Here are three examples: 

  • The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center offers this brief research summary:  “Clinical trials have shown that massage therapy helps reduce pain, anxiety, fatigue, and shortness of breath in cancer patients. It can ease the mind, improve sleep, reduce depression, and provide comfort to patients. It may also help children and caregivers. In addition, studies suggest that massage can reduce pain and anxiety related to medical procedures, including surgery.” 


  • The National Multiple Sclerosis Society notes that people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have successfully managed symptoms such as spasticity, pain, poor circulation, and pressure sores using therapeutic massage. They state that therapeutic massage “can provide pleasurable stimulation, giving the person with MS a chance to relax, and relieving anxiety and fear.”


  • The National Fibromyalgia Association provides this report from a person who lives with fibromyalgia: “Massage therapy helps me to feel less pain, and I sleep better on the days I get therapy. . . . Once you go to therapy on a regular basis, the therapist knows your body and can feel tight spots that you don’t even know you have. Once they are released, you feel so much better.”

At the massage studio where I work – Post-Operative and Therapeutic Massage, located in an ADA-compliant facility in Squirrel Hill – our clients have included people with lymphedema, people with lipedema, people recovering from cancer surgery, people recovering from joint replacement surgery, people living with multiple sclerosis, people who have had head injuries, and people with many other medical challenges. Our clients have also included people seeking manual lymphatic drainage following liposuction and other types of plastic surgery. Of course, we also work with people who would like to have therapeutic massage simply for relaxation and stress reduction.

If you are experiencing a medical challenge and you would like to try massage therapy, please contact me at We can have a conversation about how therapeutic massage might be helpful for your particular situation, and when you are ready, we can set up an appointment.  

A medical challenge for one person may bring physical, emotional, and spiritual challenges for that person’s caregivers and family members. If you are a caregiver or a family member of someone living with a medical challenge, please keep in mind that the relaxation and rejuvenation provided by therapeutic massage can help you regain a more positive outlook.  

Finally, although this article has emphasized massage therapy for people who are experiencing medical challenges, the benefits of massage simply for relaxation and stress reduction go far beyond those enjoyable feelings of renewal, rejuvenation, and well-being. Massage therapy can improve overall health and wellness by promoting better sleep, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, reducing anxiety, increasing blood and lymph circulation, increasing range of motion, decreasing sympathetic nervous system excitability, and bolstering the ability to handle strong emotions.


To learn more about my practice, please visit my website at  

To set up an appointment, please contact me at


David Herndon // Licensed Massage Therapist, Pennsylvania License #MSG013439

East End Food Co-op Community Partner

Discount Offered to EEFC Members: $20 for First-Time Clients, $5 for Ongoing Clients