Effects of Swedish Massage Therapy on Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Inflammatory Markers in Hypertensive Women

Faculty of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Universiti Selangor, Shah Alam, Malaysia.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.88). 08/2013; 2013:171852. DOI: 10.1155/2013/171852
Source: PubMed


Swedish Massage Therapy (SMT) is known for its therapeutic relaxation effects. Hypertension is associated with stress and elevated endothelial inflammatory markers. This randomized control trial measured the effects of whole body SMT (massage group) or resting (control group) an hour weekly for four weeks on hypertensive women. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were measured before and after each intervention and endothelial inflammatory markers: vascular endothelial adhesion molecules 1 (VCAM-1) and intracellular adhesion molecules 1 (ICAM-1) were measured at baseline and after the last intervention. Massage group (n=8) showed significant systolic BP (SBP) reduction of 12 mmHg (P=0.01) and diastolic BP (DBP) reduction of 5 mmHg (P=0.01) after four sessions with no significant difference between groups. Reductions in HR were also seen in massage group after sessions 1, 3, and 4 with significant difference between groups. VCAM-1 showed significant reduction after four sessions: the massage group showed reduction of 998.05 ng/mL (P=0.03) and the control group of 375.70 ng/mL (P=0.01) with no significant differences between groups. There were no changes in ICAM-1. In conclusion, SMT or resting an hour weekly has effects on reducing BP, HR, and VCAM-1 in hypertensive women.

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    ABSTRACT: Massage, an ancient Chinese healing art, is widely practiced for symptom relief in hypertensive patients with anxiety, depression, headache, vertigo, chronic pain in neck, shoulder and back. A large number of case series and clinical trials have been published. However, it is still unclear whether massage can be recommended as an effective therapy for essential hypertension (EH). We estimated the current clinical evidence of massage for EH. Articles published before 10 December 2013 were searched using Cochrane Library, PubMed, EMBASE, Chinese Scientific Journal Database (VIP), Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, Wanfang data and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure. Randomized controlled trials comparing massage with any type of control intervention were included. Trials testing massage combined with antihypertensive drugs versus antihypertensive drugs were included as well. Meta-analysis was performed on the effects on blood pressure (BP). Twenty-four articles involving 1962 patients with EH were selected. Methodological quality of most trials was evaluated as generally low. Meta-analyses demonstrated that massage combined with antihypertensive drugs may be more effective than antihypertensive drugs alone in lowering both systolic BP (SBP; mean difference (MD): -6.92 (-10.05, -3.80); P<0.0001) and diastolic BP (MD: -3.63 (-6.18, -1.09); P=0.005); massage appears beneficial for reducing SBP (MD: -3.47 (-5.39, -1.56); P=0.0004) for hypertensive patients as compared with antihypertensive drugs. Safety of massage is still unclear. There is some encouraging evidence of massage for EH. However, because of poor methodological quality, the evidence remains weak. Rigorously designed trials are needed to validate the use of massage in future.Journal of Human Hypertension advance online publication, 3 July 2014; doi:10.1038/jhh.2014.52.
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