The top ten most-cited massage therapy research articles

This list was updated and corrected on September 2nd, 2015.  The correct updated list can be viewed here.

To kick off this new blog focused on massage therapy research and education, I thought it could be interesting to feature the ten most-cited articles in the area of massage therapy research.  With time, I plan to write a small feature about each one, as I’ve worked with all of these, and in some cases with the authors, in some capacity.  In a few instances I have an interesting ‘behind-the-scenes’ perspective.

I created this list by doing a search in Google Scholar for the terms massage therapy.  Simple as that.  Sorted by relevance, the most-cited articles tend to be at the top of the list, but it is still necessary to go down through the list a bit and scan the number of times an article has been cited to create the proposed list.  It is possible that there is a highly-cited article way down in the search results, but I highly doubt it.  If someone knows of an article that they think should have made the list but didn’t, let me know and I will check on it.

This list is accurate as of August 30, 2015, according to citation counts listed on Google Scholar.  I’ve provided a link to the complete article as a pdf except in cases where none is available.

#1 @ 458 citations

Field, T. M. (1998). Massage therapy effects. American Psychologist, 53, 1270-1281.

#2 @ 441 citations

Cherkin, D. C., Sherman, K. J., Deyo, R. A., & Shekelle, P. G. (2003). A review of the evidence for the effectiveness, safety, and cost of acupuncture, massage therapy, and spinal manipulation for back pain. Annals of Internal Medicine, 138, 898-907.

#3 @ 418 citations

Moyer, C. A., Rounds, J., & Hannum, J. W. (2004). A meta-analysis of massage therapy research. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 3-18.

#4 @ 380 citations

Field, T. (1995). Massage therapy for infants and children. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 16, 105-111.

(no link to pdf available)

#5 @ 324 citations

Ironson, G., Field, T., Scafidi, F., Hashimoto, M., Kumar, M., Kumar, A., et al. (1996). Massage therapy is associated with enhancement of the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity. International Journal of Neuroscience, 84, 205-217.

(no link to pdf available)

#6 @ 310 citations

Cassileth, B. R., & Vickers, A. J. (2004). Massage therapy for symptom control: Outcome study at a major cancer center. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 28, 244-249.

#7 @ 267 citations

Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (2005). Cortisol decreases and serotonin increase following massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 115, 1397-1413.

#8 @ 244 citations

Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasgenor, J., & Theakston, H. (2001). Lower back pain is reduced and range of motion increased after massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 106, 131-145.

(no link to pdf available)

#9 @ 231 citations

Preyde, M. (2000). Effectiveness of massage therapy for subacute low-back pain: A randomized controlled trial. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 162, 1815-1820.

#10 @ 198 citations

Field, T., Henteleff, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Martinez, E., Kunjana, M., Kuhn, C. et al. (1998). Children with asthma have improved pulmonary functions after massage therapy. The Journal of Pediatrics, 132, 854-858.

(no link to pdf available)

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