Friday 18th June, 2021

What type of massage will lower blood pressure

Checking blood pressure
Clinical trials show massage can reduce high blood pressure


Clinical trials have shown that many differnt types of massage will lower blood pressure. These range from "remedial massage" and Swedish massage through to more forceful sports massage and trigger point therapies. None of the successful trials used any of the pressure points commonly said to reduce blood pressure.

In this article we'll discuss what works and what doesn't, then give you a number of self massage options that may help reduce your blood pressure.


Summary of the clinical trial findings
What point do you press on for high blood pressure
Your self massage alternatives
Table: trials of massage for high blood pressure

Summary of the clinical trial findings

As discussed, many differnt types of massage proved to be successful in the trials. We will summarise what they found, then provide a table showing the types of massage and their results.

Soothing or deep massage

Several trials used stroking massages, Swedish massages or “remedial massage” with excellent effects. On the other hand a trial of 263 patients each receiving 45-60min of deep massage and this produced a blood pressure of 10.4/5.3 and a heart rate reduction of 10 per minute. Therefore, both "normal" and deep massage worked. The only anomaly was a trial that measure blood pressure immediately after deep sports massage and trigger point therapy and got a slight increase. This was attributed to the pain

Regular of once off

One trial used single 45-60 minute massages and these were shown to reduce blood pressure shortly afterwards. However, most trials used regular short duration (eg.10-20 min) sessions ranging from twice a week to daily. It is most important that the reduction in blood pressure be continuous, not just shortly after the massage. In trial four (below) patients were given 10 massages at three per week. The blood pressure was still reduced 72 hours after the last massage.

Reflexology pressure points
Blood pressure was reduced without using any special points

What point do you press on for high blood pressure

There are a lot of special spots that are said to lower blood pressure if you rub them. All of the trials used normal massage without the use of any special spots. This is not to say that rubbing and pressing on any special spots has no merit, just that the scientists managed to lower blood pressure without them.

Your self massage alternatives

While many types of massage and protocols worked, probably the best model to follows was trial 4 (see table below). This used 15 minute massage sessions three times a week, and blood pressure was still considerably reduced 72 hours after the last massage. This appears to be a protocol that will maintain the lower blood pressure. The only problem is that three massages a week for ever would get very expensive, so lets look at some home massage options.

Type of massage

The successful massages all had these in common.

  • The loosened tight muscles
  • the stimulated blood
  • the worked on tight spots in muscles

Lets look at what will do this.

Self massage with hands
Self massage using hands

Massage using your hands

As discussed in our article on the benefits of self massage, using your own hands is effective. Keeping in mind that you can only reach certain parts of your body and the massage strokes need to be towards your heart (one way valves in blood vessels) the muscles that can be massaged this way are limited. It is presumed that the best effects would be obtained from massaging the larger muscles, so the use of hand massage to lower blood pressure would be limited.

Massage cushion
Massage cushion

Chair and cushion massagers

These are able to massage larger areas of muscle plus are easy and convenient to use so would they would probably be very useful.

Self massage allows the benefits of quality massage at home for little cost

Vibration massagers (RECOMMENDED)

As we discuss in our article The scientifically proven effects of vibration massage- with clinical applications vibrations delivered by an effective massager penetrate better than manual massage and have excellent benefits. Further, it's application does not require and special massage skill. Therefore, if you follow the correct simple procedure and use an effective machine it should provide excellent benefits.

How to use vibration massage

Using vibration massage is extra-ordinarily easy. We ask you to check our our instructions for the fine points and precautions, but basically all you need to do is place the vibration massager on the muscle over the trigger point and let the vibrations penetrate for 30-60 seconds. This can easily be repeated every day.

How to choose a massager

For how to choose an quality massager that will do a great job and that you will be extremely happy with please see our article How to choose a massager, or you can go straight and check out our economical, easy to use professional standard machines: the General Purpose Massager or our Ultimate Quad Head Massager.

Summary of clinical trials of massage for high blood pressure

NOTE: You may need to scroll the table below left/right for more information


Type of massage




Deep Tissue Massage

one x 45 minute

Reduced by 10.4/5.3



1 x 30-90 min

small decrease/small decrease



daily x 7, 15 min

Reduced by 3/1.77



15 min, 3/w for 10 sessions

Reduced from 128/82 to 118/76, 72 hrs after



6 x 2/w, 10 min

Reduced by 6.44/4.77


Legs and feet

10 x daily, 20 min

Reduced by 6.8%



8 @ 3/w, 45-60 min

Blood pressure reduced from 150/95 to 125/90, heart rate dropped from 105/min to 89/min


DrGraeme massagers were originally built by Dr Graeme for use in his clinic, and to prescribe to his patients for additional self use at home. Now these are used by colleagues and other professionals for similar purposes. If you are a professional and wish to know more about this therapy, or possibly get a sample massager to trial please check out our practitioner page.


  1. Kaye, A. D. et al. (2008) ‘The effect of deep-tissue massage therapy on blood pressure and heart rate’, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(2), pp. 125–128. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.0665.
  2. Cambron, J. A., Dexheimer, J. and Coe, P. (2006) ‘Changes in blood pressure after various forms of therapeutic massage: A preliminary study’, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 12(1), pp. 65–70. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.65.
  3. Pinar, R. and Afsar, F. (2016) ‘Back massage to decrease state anxiety, cortisol level, blood prsessure, heart rate and increase sleep quality in family caregivers of patients with cancer: A randomised controlled trial’, Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. doi: 10.7314/APJCP.2015.16.18.8127
  4. Givi, M. (2013) ‘Durability of effect of massage therapy on blood pressure’, International Journal of Preventive Medicine.
  5. Mohebbi, Z. et al. (2014) ‘The effect of back massage on blood pressure in the patients with primary hypertension in 2012-2013: a randomized clinical trial.’, International journal of community based nursing and midwifery, 2(4), pp. 251–8. Available at:
  6. Walaszek, R. (2015) ‘Impact of classic massage on blood pressure in patients with clinically diagnosed hypertension’, Journal of traditional Chinese medicine = Chung i tsa chih ying wen pan / sponsored by All-China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. doi: 10.1016/s0254-6272(15)30115-1.
  7. Shahrjerdi, S. (2020) ‘The Effect of Eight Weeks of Massage on Blood Pressure, Heart Rate and C-Reactive Protein in Women With Hypertension’, Journal of Arak University of Medical Sciences, 23(3), pp. 398–411. doi: 10.32598/jams.23.3.620.3.

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Dr Graeme

About Dr Graeme

Several years ago Dr Graeme, a Chiropractor practicing in Victoria, Australia was looking for a serious hand held massager his patients could use at home to get the extra quality massage they needed. The ones he found in the shops and on-line for home use looked nice but were not serious, and... read more

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