Massage and Mood…

September 22, 2008

Go to fullsize imageIve long believe in massage and touch therapy to help alleviate pts of anxiety, hyperactivity and mood.  I go to massage 2 x every week to relax and be pampered after a long day’s hard work.  It de- stresses me as well as improve my mood for work the next day.

Now comes a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that fully supports my belief in massage.  Although the study is not conclusive that massage is superior to light touch… the feeling of relaxation and pampering oneself is more than worth the time to do it.


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of massage for decreasing pain and symptom distress and improving quality of life among persons with advanced cancer.

Patients: 380 adults with advanced cancer who were experiencing moderate-to-severe pain; 90% were enrolled in hospice.

Intervention: Six 30-minute massage or simple-touch sessions over 2 weeks.

Measurements: Primary outcomes were immediate (Memorial Pain Assessment Card, 0- to 10-point scale) and sustained (Brief Pain Inventory [BPI], 0- to 10-point scale) change in pain. Secondary outcomes were immediate change in mood (Memorial Pain Assessment Card) and sustained change in quality of life (McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire, 0- to 10-point scale), symptom distress (Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale, 0- to 4-point scale),

Results: 298 persons were included in the immediate outcome analysis and 348 in the sustained outcome analysis. A total of 82 persons did not receive any allocated study treatments (37 massage patients, 45 control participants).

  • Both groups demonstrated immediate improvement in pain (massage, –1.87 points [95% CI, –2.07 to –1.67 points]; control, –0.97 point [CI, –1.18 to –0.76 points]) and mood (massage, 1.58 points [CI, 1.40 to 1.76 points]; control, 0.97 point [CI, 0.78 to 1.16 points]).
  • Massage was superior for both immediate pain and mood (mean difference, 0.90 and 0.61 points, respectively; P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Massage may have immediately beneficial effects on pain and mood among patients with advanced cancer. Given the lack of sustained effects and the observed improvements in both study groups, the potential benefits of attention and simple touch should also be considered in this patient population.


This simple study is worth looking into.  Although the study only involved cancer patients but the implication of the study results can be applied to every patient that we see or be advised to those with chronic illness beyond their usual therapies.

Simple touch to patients can definitely offer hope, relief and comfort.  This is what I learned at the Mayo Clinic.  Bedside skills involving interaction with patients through touch were as important as the skill of a surgeon or the bright minds of the internists.  How much more with a soothing massage… whew!  I cant wait to get one while composing this post 🙂

In Bad Mood? or Feeling sick and getting Depressed? or Maybe from too much pressure from work?

Massage To The Rescue!

One Response to “Massage and Mood…”

  1. Maxim Says:

    This just reinforces Doc the ancient knowledge of the Chinese and the Indians the therapeutic value attributed to this.

    Surely, one of the best ways to relieve stress!

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