View Full Version : Massage beds

10-06-2011, 08:37 AM
Do you think a massage bed - with rollers going up & down beside the spine could do any damage/ make scoliosis worse for an older person with a moderate/ severe 'S' type scoliosis? During this procedure the spine is stretched slightly and far-infrared rays are also generated to give a deep heat massage.

It has been suggested to me that regular use could indeed improve the scoliosis over time, as the rollers are softening the surrounding muscles of the spine & thereby re-educating the spine into a straighter position??

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.

Thank you

Dr Scoliosis
23-06-2011, 06:26 PM
Thank you for your enquiry. There is no reason to consider that massage up and down the spine with rollers would improve (lessen) any form of adult or paediatric scoliosis. These products are sometimes very expensive. Before any outlay is considered there should be an enquiry as to how the improvement (decrease) in the scoliosis was measured. Suffice it to say the only reputable method is an x-ray before and after use.

On the other hand many patients with painful scoliosis in adult life find gentle massage helpful from time to time. It may lessen the pain somewhat but it will not lessen the actual degree of curvature. Why some patients' pain responds to massage and this does not occur in others with comparable curves cannot be explained.

I trust this comment is helpful.

Dr Scoliosis

29-06-2011, 09:03 PM
Thank you Dr Scoliosis for your helpful reply.

I'm concerned that using a massage bed could, if not make the curvature better may indeed make the scoliosis worse?

The staff managing/ overseeing these beds are not medically trained, but seem to think that by continual use the muscles surrounding the spine would begin to relax, but surely with a curved spine the rollers in some places would be touching the spine itself, which with constant usuage could make the condition worse.

Having said that it doesn't feel as if my spine is being touched by the rollers - there is a space between the rollers for the spine - so perhaps the curve is contained in this space.

The stretching & heat are a plus point, but one would have to consider carefully before buying one as, as you say, they are costly.

If you have a moment I'd appreciate your further thoughts.

Thanks again


Dr Scoliosis
12-07-2011, 10:40 AM
Thank you for your further enquiry.

Passing rollers up and down the spine will not have any stretching effect apart from that which usually occurs with ordinary day-to-day movements. If the machine also generates infra-red rays, that will result in a degree of dilation of blood vessels but that, in itself, would not be expected to have any beneficial effect.

You mention that "it has been suggested to me that regular use could indeed improve the scoliosis over time". As I mentioned to you previously, any such statement needs to be accompanied by proof and the only acceptable proof is before and after x-rays taken in very carefully controlled ways. As far as I am aware there is no evidence that massage actually "softens the muscles of the spine and thereby re-educates the spine into a straighter position". Such a statement sounds like an unsubstantiated sales pitch.

On the other hand, as I also mentioned previously, patients with scoliosis who have soreness in the back often find that a massage is helpful. Such a massage does not alter the scoliosis and there is no scientific explanation why a massage is beneficial in some scoliotic patients and not in others. Certainly, a gentle massage can do no harm.

Dr Scoliosis

14-07-2011, 02:07 AM
Thank you again Dr Scoliosis for your helpful comments.

I agree, alot of the comments from the sales representatives appear to be unsubstantiated. I have asked that they give me proof, other than from anecdotal evidence, that a scoliosis could be improved in the long term, but so far they are finding that hard to do!

The stretching of the spine seems to be with the use of an internal projector. I couldn't quite understand what they meant, but it does feel as if the spine is being stretched slightly.

Anyway thx again for your help.