Patients with cancer, receiving a multitude of treatments, experience cumulative side effects resulting in pain and anxiety. Treating the side-effects of cancer treatment is the focus of Hospital-Based Massage Therapy (HBMT), an emerging specialty in massage therapy that focuses on providing nonpharmacological interventions for individuals who are medically complex. This study examined the results of HBMT intervention for pain and anxiety of people living with cancer.
A retrospective chart review of 177 adult patients with cancer. Patients received a 15-minute hand, foot, or both hand/foot massage at different pressures, from HBMT trained licensed massage therapists, during their chemotherapyinfusion treatments or hospital stay at an academic medical center. Pain and anxiety were measured using the visual analog scale (VAS) on scale from 1-10, before and after intervention. Data are presented as medians and non-parametric tests were used to identify differences. Spearman correlations were determined when appropriate. Statistical significance is assumed at p<0.05.
Full data sets were collected on 85 patients. Pain and anxiety significantly improved by 25% and 60%, respectively, (P<0.0001) after the hand and foot massage There was a significant positive correlation between the level of pain premassage and the difference in pain before and after treatment (r= 0.26, P=0.025). There was an even stronger correlation between the level of anxiety pre-massage and the difference in anxiety before and after treatment (r=0.58, P<0.0001).
One session of massage therapy decreased pain and anxiety in patients undergoing treatment for cancer and, moreover, pain and anxiety decreased more in those patients who had higher initial values. These results indicate that massage is a potentially beneficial non-pharmacological treatment in patients suffering pain and anxiety after cancer treatment.
University of Kentucky (
UK) Rehabilitation and Health Sciences Ph.D. Program, Esther E. Dupont-Versteegden, Ph.D., Director
Stacey A. Slone, MS, Principal Statistician, UK College of Health Sciences,
University of Kentucky HealthCare (UKHC) Integrative Medicine and Health Department, Dr. Connie Jennings, Medical Director, Sue Duratcha, Director of Ambulatory Clinics, UKHC, Amanda Biddle, Practice Manager, UKHC Integrative Medicine and Health