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Summaries of Research in massage techniques

Massage Techniques Research

Research of massage techniques is confirming what many have experienced and observed through personal experience - massage improves a variety of symptoms and conditions. Listed here are a few of the published findings.

Massage techniques manage subacute low-back pain "Both the comprehensive massage therapy group and the soft-tissue manipulation group showed clinical significance for the improvement of function," states the study's author. "Massage therapy that is based on physiology and emphasizes the soft-tissue manipulation component of treatment was found to be effective in the nonpharmacological management of subacute low-back pain."  - Source: College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. Author: Michele Preyde. Originally published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2000, Vol. 162, pp. 1,815-1,820.

Massage techniques increase NK cells numbers in women with breast cancer "The pivotal finding in this study was the increase in natural-killer cell numbers for the women with breast cancer who received massage therapy," state the study’s authors. "Their clinical condition would be expected to improve inasmuch as natural-killer cells are noted to destroy tumor cells." Source: The Touch Research Institutes, with support from BIOTONE and the U.S. Department of Defense. Authors: Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D.; Tiffany Field, Ph.D.; Gail Ironson, M.D.; Julia Beutler; Yanexy Vera; Judith Hurley, M.D.; Mary Ann Fletcher, Ph.D.; Saul Schanberg, M.D., Ph.D.; and Cynthia Kuhn, Ph.D.

For Fibromyalgia patients, massage techniques decrease pain, depression, and Substance P, and improve sleep Over the course of the study, the massage group, as compared with the relaxation group, experienced decreased depression; improved sleep; decreased pain, fatigue and stiffness; improved physician assessments; decreased tender points; and a reduced level of substance P. The study's authors concluded that these findings "highlight the clinical significance of using massage therapy as a complementary treatment." Source: Touch Research Institute. Authors: Tiffany Field, Ph.D., Miguel Diego, Christy Cullen, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D., William Sunshine and Steven Douglas. Originally published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, April 2002, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 72-76. 

Massage techniques effectively reduce lower back pain and increases range of motion "The findings from the present study are compelling and if the effects can be replicated and persist, these data suggest that massage therapy effectively reduces pain, positively impacts on the biochemical system, and attenuates psychological symptoms associated with lower back pain," the study authors wrote. The authors also wrote that future studies might "examine the impact of massage therapy on job productivity and absenteeism for individuals with chronic low back problems." - Source: Touch Research Institute. Originally reported in International Journal of Neuroscience, 2001, Vol. 106, pp. 131-145. 

Massage techniques for increasing alertness in the classroom “Our finding suggests that acupressure can change alertness in people who are in classroom settings for a full day—which could be very good news for students who have trouble staying alert at school,” said Richard E. Harris. He added that further research is necessary to confirm these findings and to determine whether stimulation and relaxation acupressure are equally effective in influencing alertness. — Source: Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., Course on Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis, University of Michigan, School of Public Health. Ann Arbor, Mich. Authors: Richard E. Harris, Ph.D.; Joanne Jeter, M.D.; Paul Chan, M.D.; Peter Higgins, M.D. Ph.D.; Feng-Ming Kong, M.D.; Reza Fazel, M.D.; Candace Bramson, M.D.; Brenda Gillespie, Ph.D. Originally published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Aug 2005, Vol. 11, No. 4: 673–679.

Massage techniques effective in reducing chronic back pain "This study suggests that massage has benefits that become apparent within 10 weeks and persist at least one year," the researchers wrote. As well, those in the massage group had 40 percent fewer back-pain-related visits to a physician and 40 percent fewer medication refills than those in the other two groups. "The finding that the benefits of massage persist well beyond the last treatment, and the suggestion of possible reductions in subsequent health care utilization, make massage a high priority for further study," the authors wrote. - Source: Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound Center for Health Studies, Seattle, Washington. Authors: Daniel C. Cherkin, Ph.D.; David Eisenberg, M.D.; Karen J. Sherman, Ph.D.; William Barlow, Ph.D.; Ted J. Kaptchuk, O.M.D.; Janet Street, R.N., Richard A. Deyo, M.D. Originally published in Archives of Internal Medicine, April 23, 2001, Vol. 161, No.8.

Massage techniques improves shoulder pain "This randomized, controlled trial has shown that soft tissue massage around the shoulder in subjects with shoulder pain of local mechanical origin produces significantly greater improvements in pain, function and range of motion than does no treatment over a two-week period," state the study’s authors. "The fact that these patients improved with such a wide range of diagnoses points to the potential generalisability of the effects of this massage in patients with shoulder pain of local mechanical origin."  - Source: Auburn Hospital and Concord Repatriation General Hospital in Sydney, Australia. Authors: Paul A. van den Dolder and David L. Roberts. Originally published in the Australian Journal of Physiotherapy 2003, Vol. 49, pp. 183-188.

Massage techniques increase NK cells numbers in women with breast cancer "The pivotal finding in this study was the increase in natural-killer cell numbers for the women with breast cancer who received massage therapy," state the study’s authors. "Their clinical condition would be expected to improve inasmuch as natural-killer cells are noted to destroy tumor cells." Source: The Touch Research Institutes, with support from BIOTONE and the U.S. Department of Defense. Authors: Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D.; Tiffany Field, Ph.D.; Gail Ironson, M.D.; Julia Beutler; Yanexy Vera; Judith Hurley, M.D.; Mary Ann Fletcher, Ph.D.; Saul Schanberg, M.D., Ph.D.; and Cynthia Kuhn, Ph.D.

Reflexology massage techniques relieve Multiple Sclerosis symptoms The reflexology group showed significant improvements at the end of the study period for scores of paresthesias, urinary symptoms and spasticity. Muscle strength scores for the reflexology group showed borderline improvement. The improvement in the intensity of paresthesia remained significant at the three-month follow-up. "It is of interest to note such positive effects of single intervention on a broad range of symptoms," state the study’s authors. "Further clinical and laboratory studies are needed to validate these results and to understand the mechanisms by which reflexology improves symptoms secondary to [multiple sclerosis]."  - Source: Department of Orthopedic Rehabilitation, Complementary Medicine Clinic, Multiple Sclerosis Center at Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer, Israel; and Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research. Authors: I. Siev-Ner; D. Gamus; L. Lerner-Geva; and A. Achiron. Originally published in Multiple Sclerosis, 2003, Vol. 9, pp. 356-361.

Massage techniques ease cancer symptoms "[Massage therapy] and [healing touch] were more effective than presence alone or standard care in inducing physical relaxation, reducing pain, improving mood states and fatigue," state the study's authors. "These results clearly suggest a benefit to both massage and [healing touch] that goes beyond the mere presence of a caring practitioner."  - Source: University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and United Hospital Department of Integrative Health in St. Paul, Minnesota. Authors: Janice Post-White, R.N., Ph.D.; Mary Ellen Kinney, R.N.; Kay Savik; Joanna Bernsten Gau, R.N.; Carol Wilcox, R.N.; and Irving Lerner, M.D. Originally published in Integrative Cancer Therapies, 2003, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 332-344.

Spa massage economically advantageous for osteoarthritis "The data clearly and correctly shows the economically advantageous aspects of spa therapies in the treatment of [osteoarthritis]," state the authors.  - Source: Institute of Rheumatology at the University of Siena, in Siena, Italy; Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of l'Aquila, in l'Aquila, Italy; and Section of Clinical Hydrology at the University of Milan, in Milan, Italy. Authors: A. Fioravanti, M.Valenti, E. Altobelli, F. Di Orio, G. Nappi, A Crisanti, L. Cantarini and R. Marcolongo. Originally published in Panminerva Medica 2003, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 211-217.

Burn victims benefit from massage techniques that reduce pain and itching "Our findings are encouraging because massage therapy provides a natural and effective alternative for the reduction of itching, pain, and psychological symptoms that are commonly experienced by patients with burns after they are discharged from the hospital," the study authors wrote. "Future and long-term studies might examine enduring effects of massage therapy for scar tissue healing, including reduction of the height of the scar and improvement in vascularity, pliability, and pigmentation."  - Source: The Touch Research Institute. Originally published in the Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation, 2000, Vol. 21, pp. 189-93.

Massage techniques improve mood and stress in cancer patient spouses "This research suggests that [therapeutic back massage] may benefit spouses of patients with cancer by enhancing positive mood and reducing perceived stress," states the study's author. "Thus, [therapeutic back massage] may help spouses face the challenge of living with and caring for an ill partner with cancer." - Source:  Duquesne University School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Author: Linda M. Goodfellow, Ph.D., R.N. Originally published in Nursing Research, September/October 2003, Vol. 52, No. 5, pp. 318-328.

Massage techniques are effective overall "The average [massage therapy] participant experienced a reduction in trait anxiety that was greater than 77 percent of comparison group participants, and a reduction of depression that was greater than 73 percent of comparison group participants," state the study's authors. "Considered together, these results indicate that [massage therapy] may have an effect similar to that of psychotherapy." - Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Educational Psychology. Authors: Christopher A. Moyer, James Rounds and James W. Hannum. Originally published in Psychological Bulletin 2004, Vol. 130, No. 1, pp. 3-18. 

Massage techniques ease COPD symptoms “We found significantly greater improvements in patients receiving acupressure at true acupressure points compared with those receiving acupressure at sham points,” state the study’s authors. “This improvement related to all the variables studied and suggests that people with [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] would benefit from acupressure at true acupoints.” - Source: Jen Teh Junior College of Medicine, Nursing and Management, in Miaoli, Taiwan; Institute of Health and Welfare Policy, Institute of Clinical Nursing at National Yang-Ming University, in Taipei, Taiwan; Institute of Chinese Medical Science at Chinese Medical College, in Taichung, Taiwan. Authors: Hua Shan Wu, R.N.; Shiao-Chi Wu, Ph.D.; Juang-Geng Lin, Ph.D.; and Li-Chan Lin, Ph.D., R.N. Originally published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2004, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 252-259.

Massage techniques increase relaxation "Taken together these findings indicate that moderate pressure massage resulted in enhanced relaxation, while the light pressure massage resulted in physiological arousal and decreased relaxation," state the study’s authors. "Further, the vibratory stimulation appeared to have negligible effects on physiological levels of arousal and/or relaxation." - Source: University of Miami School of Medicine Touch Research Institute, in Miami, Florida. Authors: Miguel A. Diego, Tiffany Field, Ph.D., Chris Sanders, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D. Originally published in International Journal of Neuroscience, 2004, Vol. 114, pp. 31-45.

Massage techniques improve sleep quality for patients with advanced cancer "Our results suggest that aromatherapy and massage may have a beneficial effect on sleep quality in patients with advanced cancer," state the study’s authors. - Source: Princess Alice Hospice, in Esher, Surrey, United Kingdom; North Surrey Primary Care Trust, in Surrey, United Kingdom; The Royal Marsden Hospital, in Sutton, Surrey, United Kingdom. Authors: Katie Soden, Karen Vincent, Stephen Craske, Caroline Lucas and Sue Ashley. Originally published in Palliative Medicine, 2004, No. 18, pp. 87-92.

Massage techniques improve bone mineralization in premature infants “Physical activity combined with infant massage stimulates bone formation in premature infants as evidenced by an increase in PICP, a biochemical marker of bone formation, and an increase in PTH activity, which may further stimulate bone growth and mineralization,” state the study’s authors. - Source: George Washington University Hospital and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; Ain Shams University School of Medicine in Cairo, Egypt. Authors: Hany Aly, M.D., Mohamed F. Moustafa, Sahar M. Hassanein, An N. Massaro, Hanna A. Amer and Kantilal Patel. Originally published in Journal of Perinatology, 2004, Vol. 24, pp. 305-309.

Massage techniques improve fatigue and depression in end-stage renal disease  “Assessment of [end-stage renal disease] patients’ fatigue and depression should be an essential part of nursing practice, and clinicians may consider providing acupressure therapy as a method for improving dialysis patients’ fatigue and depression,” state the study’s authors. “Nurses, patients and their families could be easily trained to administer acupressure to those who have fatigue and depression.” - Source: National Tainan Institute of Nursing Department of Nursing, in Tainan, Taiwan, and National Taipei College of Nursing Graduate Institute, in Taipei, Taiwan. Authors: Yi-Ching Cho, R.N., Shiow-Luan Tsay, R.N., Ph.D. Originally published in Journal of Nursing Research, 2004, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp.51-58

Massage techniques improve quality of life following radiation therapy “Subjects who received Healing Touch demonstrated better [health-related quality of life] following radiation treatment than their counterparts who received mock treatment,” state the study’s authors. “The significant effects of [Healing Touch] on vitality, pain and physical functioning in this study lend support to the potential value of [Healing Touch] in improving the health-related quality of life of women with gynecological or breast cancer who undergo radiation therapy.” - Source: Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri, and the School of Social Service, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri. Authors: Cynthia A. Loveland Cook, Ph.D., R.N.; Joanne F. Guerrerio, R.N.; and Victoria E. Slater, Ph.D., R.N. Originally published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2004, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 34-40.

20 minute foot and hand massage techniques ease postoperative pain “The findings from the study indicated that a 20-minute foot and hand massage significantly reduced both pain intensity and distress resulting from incision pain on the first postoperative day,” state the study’s authors. “Foot and hand massage appears to be an effective, inexpensive, low-risk, flexible, easily applied strategy for postoperative pain management.” - Source: Clarion Health Partners Methodist Hospital and Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, Indiana. Authors: Hsiao-Lan Wang, R.N., and Juanita F. Keck, R.N. Originally published in Pain Management Nursing, June 2004, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 59-65.

Massage techniques for long-term pain Results of the study showed that, during treatment, there was a significant improvement in self-rated health, mental energy and muscle pain for subjects in the massage group as compared to those in the relaxation group. “For all three outcome measures, massage was significantly more effective during treatment, even after controlling for other possible factors,” state the study’s authors. However, at the three-month follow-up evaluation these improved scores had reverted back to their initial levels. “This lack of long-term benefits could be due to the short treatment period or treatments such as these do not address the underlying causes of pain,” state the study’s authors. “Future studies of long-term pain should include longer treatment periods and post-treatment follow-up.” Source: Uppsala University Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, in Uppsala, Sweden. Authors: Dan Hasson, Bengt Arentz, Lena Jelveus and Bo Edelstam. Originally published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 2004, Vol. 73, pp. 17-24.

Massage techniques reduce frequency of headaches “Medication usage decreased significantly in the Trager group and nominally in the attention group, while increasing in the control group,” state the study’s authors. “Clearly, there would be a substantial economic and clinical value to decreasing the amounts of medication taken by headache patients.” - Source: University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy. Authors: Kimberly A. Foster, M.D.; Jack Liskin; Steven Cen; Allan Abbott, M.D.; Valeska Armisen, M.D.; Denise Globe, Ph.D.; Lyndee Knox, Ph.D.; Miles Mitchell, M.D.; Corina Shtir; and Stanley Azen, Ph.D. Originally published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, September/October 2004, Vol. 10, No. 5, pp. 40-45.

Massage techniques for carpal tunnel syndrome Results of the study showed that the subjects in the massage group had significantly less pain and reduced carpal tunnel symptoms, as well as shorter median peak latencies and increased grip strength. “Functional activity also improved as noted in reduced pain and increased grip strength in the massage therapy group, both immediately after the first and last massage therapy sessions and by the end of the study,” state the study’s authors. “Finally, the massage therapy group reported lower anxiety and depressed mood levels both immediately after the first and last sessions and by the end of the study.” - Source: Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida. Authors: Tiffany Field, Ph.D.; Miguel Diego; Christy Cullen; Kristin Hartshorn; Alan Gruskin; Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D.; and William Sunshine. Originally published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 2004, Vol. 8, pp. 9-14.

Massage techniques benefit stroke victims “The results of this study support the view that [slow-stroke back massage], as an alternative adjunct to pharmacological treatment, is a clinically effective nursing intervention for reducing anxiety and shoulder pain in elderly stroke patients,” state the study’s authors. - Source: Hong Kong Polytechnic University Department of Nursing and Wong Chuk Hang Hospital, in Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Authors: Esther Mok and Chin Pang Woo. Originally published in Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery, 2004, Vol. 10, pp. 209-216.

Massage techniques for easing anxiety in pregnant, chemically dependant women “This study suggests that [Therapeutic Touch] may promote lower levels of anxiety in pregnant inpatients with a chemical dependency compared to nursing presence alone or standard care,” state the study’s authors. “These results are meaningful in recognition of the high incidence of anxiety found in women with a chemical dependency.” - Source: British Columbia Women's Hospital, in Vancouver. Authors: Cheryl N. Larden, R.N.; M. Lynne Palmer, R.N.; and Patricia Janssen, R.N., Ph.D. Originally published in Journal of Holistic Nursing, December 2004, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 320-332.

Massage techniques for reducing cancer symptoms “Massage therapy appears to be an uncommonly non-invasive and inexpensive means of symptom control for patients with serious chronic illness,” state the study’s authors. “It is non-invasive, inexpensive, comforting, free of side effects and greatly appreciated by recipients. - Source: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Service and Biostatistics Service, New York City. Authors: Barrie R. Cassileth, Ph.D.; and Andrew J. Vickers, Ph.D. Originally published in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, September 2004, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 244-249.

Massage techniques help depressed pregnant women “Overall the findings suggest that massage therapy is effective for reducing pregnant women’s stress hormones, stressful mood states, leg and back pain and for lessening obstetric and post-natal complications, hence improving neonatal outcomes,” state the study’s authors. “They also suggest the efficacy of using a significant other as massage therapist.”

—Source: Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine, in Florida. Authors: T. Field, Ph.D.; M.A. Diego; M. Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D.; S. Schanberg; and C. Kuhn. Originally published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, June 2004, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 115-122

Massage techniques reduce heart rate and blood pressure “No changes were found in the control group after the baseline period, indicating that the autonomic activity stabilized during the initial rest period,” state the study’s authors. “It is therefore unlikely that the significant changes in both placebo and reiki groups are due to simply lying down and resting.” As the results of the study indicate that reiki has some effect on the autonomic nervous system, the authors suggest a further, larger study on the biological effects of reiki. —Source: Institute of Neurological Sciences, South Glasgow University Hospital NHS Trust, Glasgow, United Kingdom. Authors: Nicola Mackay; Stig Hansen, Ph.D.; and Oona McFarlane. Originally published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2004, Vol. 10, No. 6, pp. 1077-1081.

Massage and spa techniques for Fibromyalgia “Results of this study confirm our hypothesis that a combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and patient education can significantly improve symptoms and health-related quality of life in fibromyalgia,” state the study’s authors. “After six months, however, most differences between spa and control group were no longer statistically significant, indicating that our combined program should be regarded as a palliative treatment with temporary effects.” — Source: Medisch Spectrum Twente Hospital Department of Rheumatology and the University Twente Department of Rheumatology and Communication Studies, in Enschede, The Netherlands; and the Mongi Slim Hospital Department of Rheumatology in Tunis, Tunisia. Authors: T.R. Zijlstra; M.A.F.J. van de Laar; H.J. Bernelot Moens; E. Taal; L. Zakraoui; and J.J. Rasker. Originally published in Rheumatology, 2005, Vol. 44, pp. 539-546.

Massage techniques for HIV-Positive Children “[M]assage therapy appears to have a positive impact on immune function in HIV+ children not receiving antiretroviral medications,” state the study’s authors. This, they conclude, “may offer hope to thousands of children worldwide without access to antiretrovirals, or who may not benefit from antiretroviral treatment.” —Source: University of Miami School of Medicine Division of Disease Prevention, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Medicine, and Touch Research Institutes; and Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Authors: Gail Shor-Posner, Ph.D.; Maria-Jose Miguez, M.D., Ph.D.; Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D.; Eddy Perez-Then, M.D.; and Maryann Fletcher, Ph.D. Originally published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, December 2004, Vol. 10, No. 6, pp. 1093-1095.

Massage techniques ease alcohol withdrawal syndrome “The subjective experience of patients reflected those receiving massage therapy feeling more engaged in the treatment process,” state the study’s authors. “The qualitative data indicate that most of the individuals who reported feeling supported, safe and having an improved appetite were in the massage group. “In conclusion, this study suggests that there may be a place for massage therapy in the alcohol detoxification process.” — Source: Royal Brisbane Hospital Alcohol and Drug Services, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; Queensland University of Technology School of Psychology and Counseling, in Carseldine, Queensland, Australia; and University of Queensland Department of Psychiatry, Southern Clinical Division, School of Medicine, at Princess Alexandra Hospital, in Wooloongabba, Queensland, Australia. Authors: Margaret Reader, R.N.; Ross Young, Ph.D.; and Jason P. Connor, Ph.D. Originally published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, April 2005, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 311-313

Health benefits from aromatherapy massage techniques The study’s authors state, “These results suggest that aromatherapy massage is a valuable relaxation technique for reducing anxiety and stress, and beneficial to the immune system.” — Source: Department of Microbiology, Department of Psychiatry and Department of Epidemiology for Community Health and Medicine, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine Japan; Graduate School of Science for Human Services, Ritsumeikan University Japan; and Department of Research and Development, Hyper Plants Co., Ltd Japan. Originally published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2005 Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 179–184.

Massage techniques for preterm babies weight gain "The change in vagal activity elicited by massage therapy was significantly related to weight gain during the 5-day treatment period. This suggests that neonates who demonstrated increased vagal activity during massage are more likely to benefit from massage therapy," they concluded. —Source: Touch Research Institutes, Department of Pediatrics, University of Miami School of Medicine; and University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, in Miami, Florida. Authors: Miguel A. Diego, M.A., Ph.D.; Tiffany Field, O.T.R., M.S., Ph.D.; and Maria Hernandez-Reif, M.S., Ph.D. Originally published in the Journal of Pediatrics, July 2005, Vol. 147, Issue 1, pp. 50-55.

Massage techniques decreases agitation in Alzheimer’s patients "The current study, supported by previous work, suggests that [T]herapeutic [T]ouch, as an intervention that is easy to teach and readily learned, can decrease the frequency and intensity of vocalization and pacing," state the study’s authors.  - Source: The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing and the University of Washington Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems School of Nursing. Authors: Diana Lynn Woods, Ph.D., R.N., and Margaret Dimond, Ph.D., R.N. Originally published in Biological Research for Nursing, Vol. 4, No. 2, Oct. 2002, pp. 104-114.

Massage techniques modify rigidity in patients with Parkinson’s Disease "In conclusion, results from the present study strongly suggest that it is possible to modify the level of ESR by using Trager therapy. The present results may eventually lead to the development of a specific complementary therapy for patients with [Parkinson’s disease] and rigidity."  - Source: Montreal Neurological Institute and McGill Centre for Studies on Aging, McGill University; Concordia University Department of Exercise Science; University of Quebec Department of Kinanthropology. Authors: Christian Duval, Denis Lafontaine, Jacques Herbert, Alain Leroux, Ph.D., Michel Panisset, M.D., and Jean P. Boucher, Ph.D. Originally published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Sept. 2002, Vol. 25, No. 7, pp. 455-464.

Aromatherapy Massage techniques reduce agitation in those with severe dementia "Aromatherapy with essential balm oil was well tolerated and resulted in a 35% improvement in agitation compared with an 11% improvement with placebo treatment, a highly significant difference," state the study's authors. "Restlessness and shouting were the domains with the greatest improvement." "This improvement indicates a benefit in overall well-being, in addition to the reduction in agitation, and suggests that improvements were not a consequence of increased sedation, which would have reduced participation in activities," state the study's authors.  - Source: Wolfson Research Centre, Newcastle General Hospital, Institute for Ageing and Health. Authors: Clive Ballard, M.D., John O'Brien, Katharina Reichelt and Elaine Perry, Ph.D. Originally published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, July 2002, Vol. 63, No. 7, pp. 553-558.

Massage techniques reduce headache frequency "Because our therapeutic massage protocol specifically addressed trigger-point activity, we believe that the reduction in activity of these regions by massage was a major contributor to the observed beneficial effects on tension headache," state the study's authors.  - Source: Boulder College of Massage Therapy. Authors: Christopher Quinn, Clint Chandler and Albert Moraska, Ph.D. Originally published in American Journal of Public Health, October 2002, Vol. 92, No. 10, pp. 1,657-1,661.

Massage techniques are an effective treatment for pain in first aid and trauma "In summary," state the study's authors, "our results could show that acupressure is an effective and easy-to-learn treatment for pain in first aid and emergency trauma care. We recommend this technique for emergency physicians and also for nonacademic personnel, such as nurses, paramedics, firefighters, or emergency medical technicians."  -Source: University of Vienna Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Vienna Red Cross, and the Research Institute of the Vienna Red Cross. Authors: Alexander Kober, M.D., Thomas Scheck, M.D., Manfred Greher, M.D., Frank Lieba, Roman Fleischhackl, Sabine Fleischhackl, Frederick Randunsky, and Klaus Hoerauf, M.D. Originally published in Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2002, Issue 95, pp. 723-727.

Massage techniques significantly improve low back fatigue "Massage application on the lumbar region provides significant difference in the fatigue scale as compared to rest, suggesting that massage application helped the subjects overcome the subjective feeling of fatigue," state the study's authors.  - Source: The Pacific Wellness Institute in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Authors: Tim Hideaki Tanaka, Gerry Leisman, Hidetoshi Mori and Kazushi Nishijo. Originally published in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2002, Vol. 2, No. 9. This study is available at www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/2/9

Massage techniques diminish complications and enhances quality of life during Bone marrow Transplants "This diminishing effect on neurological complications is important in enhancing the quality of life during BMT," state the study's authors. "Massage-therapy patients may be able to rest more easily, communicate with their family members, and feel less depressed and anxious during this critical time."  - Source: University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Nursing and Hospital in Denver. Authors: Marlaine Smith, R.N., Ph.D.; Francelyn Reeder, R.N., Ph.D.; Linda Daniel, R.N., Ph.D.; Julaluk Baramee, R.N., Ph.D.; and Jan Hagman, R.N. Originally published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, January/February 2003, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 40-49.

Massage techniques lower anxiety in aggressive adolescents "Anxiety has been associated with aggressive behavior and may influence the expression and modulation of aggressive behavior through its effects on social interactions," state the study's authors. "Participants receiving massage therapy reported feeling significantly less anxious after a 20-minute session on both the first and last days of treatment, but participants receiving progressive muscle relaxation did not."  - Source: Touch Research Institute. Authors: Miguel Diego, Tiffany Field, Ph.D., Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D., Jon Shaw, Eugenio Rothe, Daniel Castellanos and Linda Mesner. Originally published in ADOLESCENCE, Vol. 37, No. 147, fall 2002, pp. 598-607.

Massage techniques benefit Parkinson’s Disease patients "We conclude that the positive results for the Alexander Technique group across several measures, including the most accurate type of measure of disability (self-rated) for Parkinson’s disease (the SPDDS) show that it is likely to benefit most moderately mobile, nondemented people with Parkinson’s disease who are interested in a technique for self-help," state the study’s authors. Source: University of Westminster School of Integrated Medicine. Authors: C. Stallibrass, P. Sissons and C. Chalmers. Originally published in Clinical Rehabilitation, November 2002, Vol. 16, pp. 695-708.

Massage techniques lower blood pressure prior to cardiac catheterization "With a clear indication that back massage is beneficial, healthcare providers need to be taught the techniques of back massage," state the study’s authors. "Massage therapists and other qualified providers of massage need to be able to articulate these study results in an effort to gain reimbursement for this human touch intervention."  - Source: Knight Center for Cardiovascular Therapy, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Authors: Mary Ellen McNamara, R.N., Diann C. Burnham, R.N., Christine Smith, R.N., and Diane L. Carroll, R.N., Ph.D. Originally published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, January/February 2003, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 50-57.

Massage techniques lower intensity of soreness during delayed onset muscle soreness "Although massage rendered after muscle injury did not alter any physiological variables, it did lower the intensity of soreness after 48 hours," state the study’s authors. "There is a growing body of evidence showing that massage lowers intensity of soreness during [delayed onset muscle soreness]," they concluded.  - Source: Center for Health Sciences. Authors: J.E. Hilbert, G.A. Sforzo and T. Swensen. Originally published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2003, Issue 37, pp. 72-75.

Reflexology massage techniques improve chronic constipation "The frequency of bowel motions has also significantly increased, with 72 percent now passing motions regularly," state the study’s authors. "Administering reflexology to the children has been achieved with ease and there have been no adverse reactions observed or reported," state the study’s authors. "Reflexology for childhood encopresis and chronic constipation is now an established service with five pediatricians and two staff grade doctors referring children of all ages for treatment."  - Source: Ayrshire and Arran Acute Hospitals Trust, United Kingdom. Authors: Eileen Bishop, Evelyn McKinnon, Evelyn Weir and Denise Brown. Originally published in Paediatric Nursing, April 2003, Vol. 15, pp. 20-21.

Massage techniques and spa therapy for Parkinson’s patients "Concerning efficacy, our study showed that spa therapy improved some aspects of PD patients’ quality of life and their perception of psychological well being," state the study’s authors. "Our results indicated that spa therapy decreases health related expenditure in PD," state the study’s authors. "The cost of spa therapy was counteracted by a reduction in other medical costs, particularly ancillary care, being 1.6 times less expensive."  - Source: University Hospital, Toulouse, France. Authors: Christine Brefel-Courbon, M.D.; Karine Desboeuf, M.D.; Claire Thalamas, M.D.; Monique Galitzky, M.D.; Jean-Michel Senard, M.D., Ph.D.; Olivier Rascol, M.D., Ph.D.; and Jean-Louis Montastruc, M.D., Ph.D. Originally published in Movement Disorders, Vol. 18, No. 5, pp. 578-584.

Massage techniques for postoperative pain and distress "In summary, adjunctive gentle Swedish massage therapy may have minor effects on postoperative sensory pain, affective pain, and distress among women undergoing an abdominal laparotomy for removal of suspected malignant lesions, as suggested by a trend in favor of the group that received massage therapy." - Source: University of Virginia Health System’s Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies, Cancer Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Department of Health Evaluation Sciences. Authors: Ann Gill Taylor, R.N.; Daniel L. Galper, Ph.D.; Peyton Taylor, M.D.; Laurel W. Rice, M.D.; Willie Andersen, M.D.; William Irvin, M.D.; Xin-Qun Wang; and Frank E. Harrell, Jr., Ph.D. Originally published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 77-89.

Massage techniques decrease stress and increase sedation by 50 percent "Our results demonstrate a 50 percent reduction in [bispectral index] values when pressure was applied on the extra 1 point and a 50 percent reduction in anxiety and stress by pressing this point for 10 minutes," state the study’s authors. "The method may prove to be effective in attenuating anxiety and stress in everyday life as well," they continued, "and may replace tranquilizers and hypnotics, at least in part, for thousands of people under stress." - Source: Department of Anesthesiology at Aretaieion Hospital and St. Savas Hospital, Athens, Greece. Authors: Argyro Fassoulaki, M.D., Ph.D.; Adia Paraskeva, M.D.; Konstantinos Patris, M.D.; Theodora Pourgiezi, M.D.; and Georgia Kostopanagiotou, M.D. Originally published in Anesthesia Analgesia, 2003, Vol. 96, pp. 885-889.

Massage techniques benefit hospitalized patients "The consistent findings from this study and other published reports indicate that therapeutic massage may be an integral and important part of nursing care in hospital and hospice settings for cancer patients," state the study’s authors. "Content and practice of therapeutic massage should be strengthened in the nursing curricula and integrated throughout clinical practice." - Source: University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Nursing and Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center. Authors: Marlaine C. Smith, R.N., Ph.D.; Janet Kemp, R.N., Ph.D.; Linnea Hemphill, R.N., L.M.T.; and Carol P. Vojir, Ph.D. Originally published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2002, Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 257-262.

Massage techniques reduce water retention and pain in those with premenstrual disorder "Overall, the present findings suggest that massage therapy may be an effective long-term aid for pain reduction and water retention, and short-term for decreasing anxiety and improving mood for women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Based on these findings, massage therapy benefits would be expected to generalize to the milder PMS." - Source: Touch Research Institute. Originally reported in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, March 2000, Vol. 21, pp. 9-15.

Massage techniques have positive applications for breast cancer survivors "In the current study, massage therapy was found to be a safe treatment, as no adverse effects were reported, and massage was found to positively impact the psychology, immunology, and biochemistry of women with breast cancer," state the study’s authors. "In summary, the self-reports of reduced stress, anxiety, anger/hostility, and improved mood, and the corroborating findings of increased dopamine and serotonin levels and increased NK cell number (the primary outcome measure) and lymphocytes suggest that massage therapy has positive applications for breast cancer survivors."  - Source: The Touch Research Institutes, Department of Pediatrics, Hematology/Oncology Clinics, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Department of Medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Authors: Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D., Gail Ironson, M.D., Tiffany Field, Ph.D., Judith Hurley, M.D., Galia Katz, Miguel Diego, Sharlene Weiss, Ph.D., Mary Ann Fletcher, Ph.D., Saul Schanberg, M.D., Ph.D., and Cynthia Kuhn, Ph.D. Originally published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

Massage techniques for inducing labor in post-term pregnancy "This preliminary study raises the hypothesis that the use of specific shiatsu techniques on post-term women by midwives reduces the number of labors that need to be induced pharmacologically," the authors conclude. — Source: St. Michael's Hospital, Bristol, England. Authors: Jennifer Ingram, Celina Domagala and Suzanne Yates. Originally published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 13, Issue 1, March 2005, Pages 11–15.

Massage techniques reduce symptoms in those with Anorexia Nervosa The results of this study, according to its authors, "suggest that massage therapy added to standard care may be effective for healing mind and body issues for individuals with eating disorders."  - Source: The Touch Research Institute. Authors: Sybil Hart, Ph.D.; Tiffany Field, Ph.D.; Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D.; Graciela Nearing, Psy.D.; Seana Shaw, M.D.; Saul Schanberg, M.D., Ph.D.; Cynthia Kuhn, Ph.D. Originally published in Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 2001, Vol. 9, pp. 217-228. 

Massage techniques benefit spinal cord injury patients "The increased muscle strength and range of motion may have contributed to the decrease in their depression and anxiety," state the study's authors. "These data suggest that patients with spinal cord injury can benefit from massage therapy."  - Source: The Touch Research Institute. Authors: Miguel A. Diego, Tiffany Field, Ph.D., Maria Hernandez-Reif, Ph.D., Sybil Hart, Ph.D. Originally published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, 2002, Vol. 112, pp. 133-142.

Massage techniques aid in childhood sexual abuse recovery The author states that although the results did not support the study hypothesis, they do provide support for the efficacy of body therapy in recovery from childhood sexual abuse, and that “both massage and body-oriented interventions influence abuse recovery in important but distinct ways.” — Source: School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle. Author: Cynthia Price, Ph.D. Originally published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Sept./Oct. 2005, Vol. 11, No. 5, pp. 46–57.







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