Children with cystic fibrosis benefit from massage therapy

J Pediatr Psychol. 1999 Apr;24(2):175-81. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/24.2.175.


Objective: To measure the effects of parents giving massage therapy to their children with cystic fibrosis to reduce anxiety in parents and their children and to improve the children's mood and peak air flow readings.

Methods: Twenty children (5-12 years old) with cystic fibrosis and their parents were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a reading control group. Parents in the treatment group were instructed and asked to conduct a 20-minute child massage every night at bedtime for one month. Parents in the reading control group were instructed to read for 20 minutes a night with their child for one month. On days 1 and 30, parents and children answered questions relating to present anxiety levels and children answered questions relating to mood, and their peak air flow was measured.

Results: Following the first and last massage session, children and parents reported reduced anxiety. Mood and peak air flow readings also improved for children in the massage therapy group.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that parents may reduce anxiety levels by massaging their children with cystic fibrosis and their children may benefit from receiving massage by having less anxiety and improved mood, which in turn may facilitate breathing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis / nursing*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / psychology
  • Female
  • Home Nursing* / methods
  • Home Nursing* / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage* / psychology
  • Massage* / standards
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome