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The pressure was maintained until referral pain ceased, or for a maximum of two minutes, then slowly eased to produce a vascular flushing. In a typical session, six active trigger points were treated, and procedure was repeated three-to-five times on each point.
Every night before bed participants completed a headache diary form, recording number of headaches, intensity of most severe headache, and duration of longest headache.
Each subject experienced a reduction in headaches within first week of massage treatment, and mean number of headaches per week was significantly reduced from 6.8 to 2 during four weeks of massage.
"Because our therapeutic massage protocol specifically addressed trigger-point activity, we believe that reduction in activity of these regions by massage was a major contributor to observed beneficial effects on tension headache," state study's authors.
Although duration of headache decreased for all four subjects, decrease was not statistically significant, and there was no significant change in headache intensity.
"The findings suggest that a larger, more complete study that includes a proper control group is warranted," state study's authors.
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*Source: Boulder College of Massage Therapy. Authors: Christopher Quinn, Clint Chandler and Albert Moraska, Ph.D. Originally published in American Journal of Public Health, October 2002, Vol. 92, No. 10, pp. 1,657-1,661.