Treatment Effects of Massage Therapy in Depressed People: A Meta-Analysis

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, E-Da Hospital and College of Medicine, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 5.5). 03/2010; 71(7):894-901. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.09r05009blu
Source: PubMed


To systematically investigate the treatment effects of massage therapy in depressed people by incorporating data from recent studies.
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of massage therapy in depressed people was conducted using published studies from PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL electronic database from inception until July 2008. The terms used for the search were derived from medical subheading term (MeSH) massage combined with MeSH depression. Hand searching was also checked for bibliographies of relevant articles. Retrieval articles were constrained to RCTs/clinical trials and human subjects. No language restrictions were imposed.
We included 17 studies containing 786 persons from 246 retrieved references. Trials with other intervention, combined therapy, and massage on infants or pregnant women were excluded.
Two reviewers independently performed initial screen and assessed quality indicators by Jadad scale. Data were extracted on publication year, participant characteristics, and outcomes by another single reviewer.
All trials showed positive effect of massage therapy on depressed people. Seventeen RCTs were of moderate quality, with a mean quality score of 6.4 (SD = 0.85). The pooled standardized mean difference in fixed- and random-effects models were 0.76 (95% CI, 0.61-0.91) and 0.73 (95% CI, 0.52-0.93), respectively. Both indicated significant effectiveness in the treatment group compared with the control group. The variance between these studies revealed possible heterogeneity (tau(2) = 0.06, Cochran chi-squared(16) = 25.77, P = .06).
Massage therapy is significantly associated with alleviated depressive symptoms. However, standardized protocols of massage therapy, various depression rating scales, and target populations in further studies are suggested.

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Available from: Su-Ying Chiu, Jul 24, 2014
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    • "Massage therapy cause the stimulus of central nerve system and decrease the heartbeat and respiration and therefore reason the calmness feel (Sherman and et al. 2005). In a meta-analysis research (n=17) shows that massage therapy make the decrease of depression signs (Hou and et al., 2010). Massage therapy promotes psychosocial relaxation and reduce stress. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we examined the effects of massage therapy on depression, anxiety and stress in youth wrestlers. To do this test participated 24 wrestlers that participations' age ranged from 15-18 years old. In doing so, we control the effects of massage therapy on experimental and control groups by DASS Inventory. During 10 sessions of treatment the experimental groups were received 25 minutes sports massage for every session. As shown MANOVA by comparison of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress scores between experimental and control groups and by control the pretest scores, indicated the significant different between scores of Depression (P<0.001), Anxiety (P<0.001), and Stress (P<0.001) in experimental and control groups. The findings of this study indicate that massage therapy tangibly and significantly decreases the level of depression, anxiety and stress of wrestlers that this phenomenon can lead to mental health and thereby improve their performance.
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    • "For instance, a recent report revealed that 5 weeks of 30 min weekly massage did not affect peripheral cytokine or T lymphocyte responses in a group of female breast cancer patients (Krohn et al. 2011). Of particular interest to the present investigation, a recent meta-analysis (17 different studies) demonstrated that massage therapy alleviated depressive symptoms (Hou et al. 2010). Similarly, others have found that massage reduced physiological and psychological aspects of anxiety in several different populations (Field et al. 1996; Beider et al. 2007; Moyer et al. 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study investigated the immediate neurophysiological effects of different types of massage in healthy adults using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Much attention has been given to the default mode network, a set of brain regions showing greater activity in the resting state. These regions (i.e. insula, posterior and anterior cingulate, inferior parietal and medial prefrontal cortices) have been postulated to be involved in the neural correlates of consciousness, specifically in arousal and awareness. We posit that massage would modulate these same regions given the benefits and pleasant affective properties of touch. To this end, healthy participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: 1. Swedish massage, 2. reflexology, 3. massage with an object or 4. a resting control condition. The right foot was massaged while each participant performed a cognitive association task in the scanner. We found that the Swedish massage treatment activated the subgenual anterior and retrosplenial/posterior cingulate cortices. This increased blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal was maintained only in the former brain region during performance of the cognitive task. Interestingly, the reflexology massage condition selectively affected the retrosplenial/posterior cingulate in the resting state, whereas massage with the object augmented the BOLD response in this region during the cognitive task performance. These findings should have implications for better understanding how alternative treatments might affect resting state neural activity and could ultimately be important for devising new targets in the management of mood disorders. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11682-011-9146-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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