Article

Massage therapy for symptom control: Outcome study at a major cancer center

Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (Impact Factor: 2.8). 10/2004; 28(3):244-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2003.12.016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Massage is increasingly applied to relieve symptoms in patients with cancer. This practice is supported by evidence from small randomized trials. No study has examined massage therapy outcome in a large group of patients. At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, patients report symptom severity pre- and post-massage therapy using 0-10 rating scales of pain, fatigue, stress/anxiety, nausea, depression and "other." Changes in symptom scores and the modifying effects of patient status (in- or outpatient) and type of massage were analyzed. Over a three-year period, 1,290 patients were treated. Symptom scores were reduced by approximately 50%, even for patients reporting high baseline scores. Outpatients improved about 10% more than inpatients. Benefits persisted, with outpatients experiencing no return toward baseline scores throughout the duration of 48-hour follow-up. These data indicate that massage therapy is associated with substantive improvement in cancer patients' symptom scores.

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Available from: Barrie R Cassileth
    • "The problem of anxiety and depression in this group of patients calls for a more comprehensive management that extends beyond the use of solely pharmacological interventions. Various nonpharmacological measures have been tested as adjuvant treatments for reducing anxiety and depression, including massage [36], Reiki [37], and cognitive "

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    • "The problem of anxiety and depression in this group of patients calls for a more comprehensive management that extends beyond the use of solely pharmacological interventions. Various nonpharmacological measures have been tested as adjuvant treatments for reducing anxiety and depression, including massage [36], Reiki [37], and cognitive Table 2: Average values for anxiety and depression scores before and after the intervention. Average values of biomarkers (cortisol and amylase) across weekly measurements. "
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    • "Aghabati and colleagues examined the effects of Therapeutic Touch, placebo, and usual care on the pain and fatigue of the cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and found that therapeutic touch was more effective in decreasing pain and fatigue than usual care, whereas the placebo group showed a decreasing trend in pain and fatigue scores compared with the usual care group [4]. In a cohort study with 1290 patients, Cassileth and Vickers found that massage therapy was associated with a substantive improvement in cancer patients' symptoms such as pain, fatigue, stress/anxiety, nausea, and depression [5]. Krucoff and colleagues undertook a multicenter, prospective trial with 748 patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention or elective catheterisation to determine the effects of music, imagery, and touch therapy (MIT) on in-hospital major adverse cardiovascular events, 6-month readmission or death, 6-month major adverse cardiovascular events, 6-month death or readmission, and 6-month mortality. "
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