Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 270–274 | Cite as

Massage therapy for cancer pain

Article

Abstract

Therapeutic massage as a cancer pain intervention appears to be safe and effective. Patients who receive massage have less procedural pain, nausea, and anxiety and report improved quality of life. The use of massage in cancer care centers and hospitals is on the rise. Massage has a positive effect on biochemistry, increasing levels of dopamine, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells. Specialized training of massage therapists in caring for people with cancer is recommended. Most studies to date are small but promising. Exact methodology and best practices warrant further investigation by the industry. More randomized clinical trials and case studies must be conducted.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    MacDonald G: Medicine Hands: Massage Therapy for People with Cancer: Florida: Findhorn Press; 1999. The first modern comprehensive text documenting MacDonald’s work with cancer patients and supervising massage students in the oncology unit at Oregon Health Sciences University over a 4-year period.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mars M, Maharaj SS, Tufts M: The effect of compressed air massage on skin blood flow and temperature. Cardiovascu J S Afr 2005, 16:215–219.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    American Massage Therapy Association Press Release, October 2003.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Corbin L: Safety and efficacy of massage therapy for patients with cancer. Cancer Control 2005, 12:158–164. This article explains the benefits and risk factors of massage and the importance of communication between oncologists and their patients.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Deng G, Cassileth BR: Integrative oncology: complementary therapies for pain, anxiety, and mood disturbance. CA Cancer J Clin 2005, 55:109–116.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cassileth BR, Vickers AJ: Massage therapy for symptom control: outcome study at a major cancer center. J Pain Symptom Manage 2004, 28:244–249. The largest meta-analysis completed to date on the effects of massage therapy in cancer care.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Grealish L, Lomasney A, Whiteman B: Foot massage: a nursing intervention to modify the distressing symptoms of pain and nausea in patients hospitalized with cancer. Cancer Nurs 2000, 23:237–243.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ferrell-Torry AT, Glick OJ: The use of therapeutic massage as a nursing intervention to modify anxiety and the perception of cancer pain. Cancer Nurs 1993, 16:93–101.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wilkie DJ, Kampbell J, Cutshall S, et al.: Effects of massage on pain intensity, analgesics, and quality of life in patients with cancer Pain: a pilot study of a randomized clinical trial conducted within hospice care delivery. Hosp J 2000, 15:31–53.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Van Cleve L, Bossert E, Beecroft P, et al.: The pain experience of children with leukemia during the first year after diagnosis. Nurs Res 2004, 53:1–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, et al.: Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci 2005, 115:1397–1413.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hernandez-Reif M, Field T, Ironson G, et al.: Natural killer cells and lymphocytes increase in women with breast cancer following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci 2005, 115:495–510. The studies conducted by these authors were among the first to explore the field of modern massage. The samples, although usually small, cover a wide range of conditions and reap significant results. The findings on the effects of massage on the immune response are remarkable.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hernandez-Reif M, Ironson G, Field T, et al.: Breast cancer patients have improved immune and neuroendocrine functions following massage therapy. J Psychosom Res 2004, 57:45–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Yates JS, Mustian KM, Morrow GR, et al.: Prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer patients during treatment. Support Care Cancer 2005, 13:806–811. A review of the use and cost effectiveness of massage therapy.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lengacher CA, Bennett MP, Kipp KE, et al.: Design and testing of the use of a complementary and alternative therapies survey in women with breast cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum 2003, 30:811–821.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Smith MC, Kemp J, Hemphill L, Vojir CP: Outcomes of therapeutic massage for hospitalized cancer patients. J Nurs Scholarsh 2002, 34:257–262. Dr. Marlaine C. Smith has a deep respect for massage intervention and has been exploring its effects for many years. She has been instrumental in terms of conducting concrete, scientific research using her knowledge and experience as a nurse to ensure reliable documentation of findings.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Soden K, Vincent K, Craske S, et al.: A randomized controlled trial of aromatherapy massage in a hospice setting. Palliat Med 2004, 18:87–92.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    American Massage Therapy Association Overview of the Massage Therapy Industry 2005. www.amtamassage.org.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lengacher CA, Bennett MP, Kip KE, et al.: Frequency of use of complementary and alternative medicine in women with breast cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum 2002, 29:1445–1452.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sims S: Slow stroke back massage for cancer patients. Nurs Times 1986, 82:47–50.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Goodfellow LM: The effects of therapeutic back massage on psychophysiologic variables and immune function in spouses of patients with cancer. Nursing Resource 2003, 52:318–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language. New York: H.S. Stuttman Co; 1957.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Stedman’s Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing, edn 5. Baltimore: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 2005.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Montague A: Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin. New York: Columbia University Press; 1971.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Current Science Inc 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boulder College of Massage TherapyBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations