Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 165–173 | Cite as

The efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and cortisol following primary treatment of breast cancer

  • Miriam ListingEmail author
  • Michaela Krohn
  • Christiane Liezmann
  • Ina Kim
  • Anett Reisshauer
  • Eva Peters
  • Burghard F. Klapp
  • Martina Rauchfuss
Original Article


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.


Breast cancer Cortisol Serotonin Mood disturbances 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miriam Listing
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michaela Krohn
    • 2
  • Christiane Liezmann
    • 2
  • Ina Kim
    • 2
  • Anett Reisshauer
    • 2
  • Eva Peters
    • 2
  • Burghard F. Klapp
    • 2
  • Martina Rauchfuss
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Internal Medicine and Dermatology, Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy BerlinCharité-Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Center for Internal Medicine and DermatologyCharité-Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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