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Rapid response to:

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: sports medicine

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d2025 (Published 30 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2025

Rapid Response:

The Emperor does have his knickers on

As ever, Des Spence sees through the nudity of the Sports Empires and
I concur except for his bold claim about the ineffectiveness of deep
massage and therapeutic ultrasound.

From the late 1970s to mid-nineties numerous papers were published about
the value of massage ad ultrasound in English-language, notably
rheumatological, journals.

As a retiree, I no longer have access to the papers or the energy to
go hunting for these. But let me assure your readers that the test of time
has vindicated the healing power of massage in injured soft tissues.
And indeed this is the basis for its popularity throughout the
Roman, Greek, middle-Eastern and Indian cultures.

One could propound the usual riposte about the placebo effect but the
crucial difference is that unlike a placebo, the healing provided by
massage is long-lasting, even permanent, in most patients.

So let us not throw the baby out with the water and trust the
observations [= perceptions] of our patients.

Competing interests: No competing interests

30 March 2011
Abdul Jaleel
Retired Consultant Rheumatologist
Private