A 1999 article published in Preventive Medicine looked at the use of massage therapy to help smokers quit by relieving anxiety, stress, and mood issues brought on by cigarette cravings. 20 adult smokers participated and were randomly assigned to either a self-massage group or a control group. The massage group was taught to conduct hand or ear self-massage during three cravings each day for one month. Self-reports indicated that the massage therapy led to reduced anxiety, improved mood, and fewer withdrawal symptoms. Those who had been using massages also smoked fewer cigarettes per day by the end of the study.
In 2005, a team of Australian researchers investigated the use of massage therapy as an adjunct treatment in an alcohol detox program. 50 alcohol-dependent patients participated, and were either given seated massage therapy for the back, shoulder, head, and neck, or were part of a control group who simply rested. Compared to the resting group, those receiving massages showed decreased heartrate by days three and four and also had lower respiration scores by the end of the study. Massage was also more effective in reducing Alcohol Withdrawal Scale scores in the early stages of the detox process. The authors concluded their study by saying that massage shows promise as an adjunct treatment to traditional therapeutic and medical interventions.