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Sign the Petition Today For Massage to be Available on the NHS
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Sign the Petition Today For Massage to be Available on the NHS

Posted by Lauren at 13:06 on 24 Nov 2017

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NHS Massage Petition.jpg

Offer patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions like muscle strains, aches and pains massage instead of medication and before more expensive, invasive and often unnecessary treatments are considered.

Why is this important?

People want Massage
As a full-time massage therapist I have treated many clients over the years that have come to me with various pains and disabilities due to MSK conditions. They don't want to waste their GP's time, take medication or wait months to see a physiotherapist. They know that massage works and would rather take that route. Sadly massage therapy is not available on the NHS because of 'a lack of funds as well as evidence that massage is effective', this despite NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines suggesting massage does in fact help certain conditions like lower back pain and sciatica.

Alarming Facts and Figures:

  • NHS England spends £7-10 billion per year on MSK conditions.
  • Up to 7.5 million working days are lost nationally due to ill-health related to MSK conditions.
  • Up to 60% of people on long-term incapacity benefit have an MSK condition.
  • Around 10% of people with an MSK condition show symptoms of depression.
  • 30% of GP appointments are related to MSK conditions.
  • Up to 30% of people referred to hospital for MSK problems don't need hospital treatments.

The NHS is in crisis
The NHS is cutting budgets so severely that patients' lives are put at risk. There is an increasing shortage of GPs, doctors and nurses due to a growing and ageing population needing more medical care. Added to this is a decrease in recruitment as fewer professionals want to work under these stressful conditions. As massage therapists are specifically trained to deal with MSK conditions while GPs and nurses are not, they could free up medical staff by taking on some of this workload.

Massage Works
Doctors all around the world have been using massage as a form of treatment for thousands of years, and in many countries they still do. In the UK today the general public is increasingly turning to massage therapy to treat many different health issues. Professional athletes, footballers and dancers incorporate regular massages within their healthcare routine. They know it works! So why not offer massage as a treatment option in the NHS?

Physical Benefits of Massage
My clients have benefited greatly from massage therapy. They have avoided serious hospital operations, overcome IBS when NHS medication hasn't worked and have found relief from headaches, frozen shoulders, sciatica, RSI etc. Massage has also had a positive effect when treating anxiety and sleep problems. These are just a few examples.

The Financial Argument
If massage therapy was offered together with exercises, the NHS could save a lot of GP and hospital time. It could save money currently spent on ineffective medication often causing bad side effects. It could also save money by avoiding unnecessary operations. Benefit payments could be greatly reduced by getting people back to work quicker or even keeping them at work in the first place. Last, but not least, massage is cheaper than other NHS treatments, hence massage therapy would be the best starting point when dealing with MSK conditions. So both financially and health-wise, using massage therapy in the NHS makes sense!