Childrens' distress during burn treatment is reduced by massage therapy

J Burn Care Rehabil. Mar-Apr 2001;22(2):191-5; discussion 190. doi: 10.1097/00004630-200103000-00021.


Before dressing changes, 24 young children (mean age = 2.5 years) hospitalized for severe burns received standard dressing care or massage therapy in addition to standard dressing care. The massage therapy was conducted to body parts that were not burned. During the dressing change, the children who received massage therapy showed minimal distress behaviors and no increase in movement other than torso movement. In contrast, the children who did not receive massage therapy responded to the dressing change procedure with increased facial grimacing, torso movement, crying, leg movement and reaching out. Nurses also reported greater ease in completing the dressing change procedure for the children in the massage therapy group. These findings suggest that massage therapy attenuates young childrens' distress responses to aversive medical procedures and facilitates dressing changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Bandages
  • Burns / complications*
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome