The Benefits of Giving a Massage on the Mental State of Massage Therapists: A Randomized, Controlled Trial

1 Department of Primary Care & Department of Continuing Professional Development, University of Oxford , Oxford, UK.
Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) (Impact Factor: 1.59). 09/2012; 18(12). DOI: 10.1089/acm.2011.0643
Source: PubMed


Abstract Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine whether giving a massage had an impact of the mental state of the massage therapist. Design: The design of this study was a randomized, controlled, blinded study with two parallel groups. Settings/location: This study was conducted at an accredited school of therapeutic massage in Dallas, Texas. Subjects: The study comprised healthy female and male final-term massage students between ages 18 and 65 years. Interventions: The participants were randomized into two groups: (1) the experimental group who gave a 1-hour Swedish massage to a massage client (Massage group), or (2) the control group who sat in a room doing normal, daily activities (Control group). Both these activities were a normal part of the daily routine for these massage students. Outcome measures: The primary outcomes were the change in the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) scores pre- and postparticipation. Results: Twenty-two (22) participants were randomized in this trial. The baseline characteristics were comparable between the two groups. A statistically significant advantage for the massage group was found relative to the control group in subjective anxiety (DASS Anxiety Subscale, p=0.014). There were no significant differences between the groups with regard to total DASS score (p=0.540), subjective depressive symptoms (DASS Depression Subscale, p=0.472) and subjective stress-related symptoms (DASS Stress Subscale, p=0.919). There were no adverse events reported by any participant. Conclusions: This study shows that massage therapists themselves may benefit from giving a therapeutic massage by experiencing less subjective anxiety following the giving of a massage.

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