The efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and cortisol following primary treatment of breast cancer
To investigate the efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and mood disturbances, 34 women diagnosed with primary breast cancer were randomized into an intervention or control group. For a period of 5 weeks, the intervention group (n = 17) received biweekly 30-min classical massages. The control group (n = 17) received no additional treatment to their routine health care. The Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ) and the Berlin Mood Questionnaire (BSF) were used and the patients’ blood was collected at baseline (T1), at the end of the intervention period (T2), and 6 weeks after T2 (T3). Compared with control group, women in the intervention group reported significantly lower mood disturbances, especially for anger (p = 0.048), anxious depression (p = 0.03) at T2, and tiredness at T3 (p = 0.01). No group differences were found in PSQ scales, cortisol and serotonin concentrations at T2 and T3. However, perceived stress and cortisol serum levels (p = 0.03) were significantly reduced after massage therapy (T2) compared with baseline in the intervention group. Further research is needed to validate our findings.