Massage therapy for patients undergoing autologous bone marrow transplantation

J Pain Symptom Manage. 1999 Sep;18(3):157-63. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(99)00061-5.


The purpose of the current study was to examine the impact of massage therapy on psychological, physical, and psychophysiological measures in patients undergoing autologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT). Patients scheduled to undergo BMT were randomly assigned to receive either (a) massage therapy, consisting of 20-minute sessions of shoulder, neck, head, and facial massage, or (b) standard treatment. Overall effects of massage therapy on anxiety, depression, and mood were assessed pretreatment, midtreatment, and prior to discharge using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and Brief Profile of Mood States, respectively. The immediate effects of massage were measured via the State Anxiety Inventory, Numerical Scales of Distress, Fatigue, Nausea, and Pain and indices of psychophysiological arousal (heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate), collected prior to and following patients' first, fifth, and final massage (on Days--7, midtreatment, and predischarge). Analysis of the data evaluating the immediate effects of massage showed that patients in the massage therapy group demonstrated significantly larger reductions in distress, fatigue, nausea, and State Anxiety than the standard treatment group at Day-7, in State Anxiety at midtreatment, and in fatigue at the predischarge assessment. The overall measures of psychological symptoms measured at pretreatment, midtreatment, and prior to discharge showed no overall group differences, although the massage group scored significantly lower on the State Anxiety Inventory than the standard care group at the midtreatment assessment. The two groups together showed significant declines through time on scores from the Profile of Mood States and State and Trait Anxiety Inventories.

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

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*