Effectiveness of massage therapy for shoulder pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis

July 7, 2017   |   Evidence in Integrative Healthcare

This study performed an effect-size analysis of massage therapy for shoulder pain.

Subjects and Methods

The database search was conducted using PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, PsycINFO, RISS, NDSL, NANET, DBpia, and KoreaMed. The meta-analysis was based on 15 studies, covering a total of 635 participants, and used a random effects model.


The effect size estimate showed that massage therapy had a significant effect on reducing shoulder pain for short-term efficacy (SMD: -1.08, 95% CI: -1.51 to -0.65) and for long-term efficacy (SMD: -0.47, 95% CI: -0.71 to -0.23). [Conclusion] The findings from this review suggest that massage therapy is effective at improving shoulder pain. However, further research is needed, especially a randomized controlled trial design or a large sample size, to provide evidence-based recommendations.