Slow stroke back massage: its effect on patients in a rehabilitation setting

Rehabil Nurs. Sep-Oct 2001;26(5):182-6. doi: 10.1002/j.2048-7940.2001.tb01948.x.


A quasi-experimental design was used to determine the effects of three consecutive days of slow stroke back massage (SSBM) on adult patients in a rehabilitation setting. This study used the Huckstadt Touch Instrument to assess physiological and psychological responses to touch, as well as the recipients' perceptions of touch. The convenience sample comprised 24 adult patients in a rehabilitation hospital in southeastern North Carolina. Subjects' ages ranged between 52 and 88 years with a mean of 71.8 years. There was a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after SSBM on all 3 days. There was a statistically significant decrease in mean heart rate and mean respiratory rate on Days 1 and 3. There was no psychological change in any of the patients. Perception scores, however, indicate a positive response to SSBM. Patients perceived it as being comfortable, good, pleasant, and warm. On all occasions, their responses indicated that the intervention made them feel cared for, happy, physically relaxed, less anxious, calm, restful, and gave them a feeling of closeness with the nurse.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Back
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Rehabilitation Nursing / methods*
  • Therapeutic Touch / methods*
  • Time Factors