An actuarial analysis indicates that therapeutic massage tends to increase life expectancy. There is a positive correlation between the number of massage therapists per 1,000 residents of a state and the life expectancy for that state. As the number of massage therapists per resident increases, the life expectancy tends to increase. Hawaii is the state with the greatest number of massage therapists per resident, 4.17 per 1,000 residents, and is the state with the greatest life expectancy, 78.21 years, as well. Utah and Colorado also place in the top ten in both categories. Utah has 1.45 massage therapists per 1,000 residents a life expectancy of 77.70 years. Colorado has 1.31 massage therapists per 1,000 residents and a life expectancy of 76.96 years. Washington, Maine, Oregon, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Montana, and Massachusetts rank in the top twenty in both categories.
The states with lowest concentrations of massage therapists tend to have the lowest life expectancies. Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama all place in the bottom ten for both number of massage therapists and life expectancy. Alabama has 0.26 massage therapists per 1,000 residents a life expectancy of 73.64 years. Mississippi has 0.29 massage therapists per 1,000 residents and a life expectancy of 73.03 years. West Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, Illinois, New York, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Oklahoma rank in the bottom twenty in both categories.
Therapeutic massage increases life expectancy as a result of the positive physiological effects of soft tissue manipulation. The effects of massage on the muscular system include allowing more flexibility, the prevention of stiffness and soreness of muscles, and the removal of metabolic waste. The effects of massage on the cardiovascular system include increasing blood cell counts, increasing stroke volume, and decreasing the heart and pulse rate. The effects on the nervous system include reductions in pain, stress, and anxiety. Massage also improves the function of the lymphatic system.
Other factors besides the concentration of massage therapists, such as age, gender, smoking, marital status, body mass index, type of employment, education and income level as well as differences in health behavior, are significant in explaining differences in life expectancy. Massage therapy is a component of a healthy lifestyle that leads to a greater life expectancy.