Massage therapy not only effectively improve patients' physical pain, fatigue, and discomfort, but also improved the psychological discomfort caused by sub-health, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia.
Massage therapy has curative effects on people in sub-health condition. However, improving the quality of clinical observation and strengthening the basic research can provide more and better evidence for its application in this field.
Sub-health state is a kind of low-quality state between health and disease, and will lead to disease if not intervened in time. As one of the external treatment options in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), massage therapy has achieved an ideal curative effect in the treatment of the sub-health state. This paper summarizes the articles on massage treatment for the treatment of patients in the sub-health state from the past decade. It mainly includes the current understanding of sub-health, treatment ideas and specific methods, as well as clinical classification of treatment modalities. From the perspective of treatment ideas and specific methods, most massage therapies are performed under the guidance of the holistic concept of TCM, and the concept of treatment based on syndrome differentiation (four diagnostic methods of TCM: inspection, auscultation, inquiry, and palpation). In this treatment, not only are the therapeutic functions of meridians and acupoints emphasized, but the selection of the therapeutic time is also performed according to the "Ziwuliuzhu" and the "Lingguibafa" (the acupuncture method based on time in ancient China). According to the different clinical symptoms of sub-health, it can be divided into three types: physical sub-health, psychological sub-health, and social adaptive sub-health. Massage therapy eliminates pain, relieves physical fatigue, and has a good therapeutic effect on physical sub-health. It can alleviate anxiety and depression, promote psychosomatic pleasure of patients, and has a satisfactory regulatory effect on the psychological sub-health symptoms. However, basic research on using modern medical theories and the means to explain its mechanism of action is relatively weak. Therefore, only constantly improving the quality of clinical observation and strengthening basic research can provide more and better evidence for the clinical application of massage therapy in treating the symptoms of the sub-health status.