Massage relieves nausea in women with breast cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy

J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Jan-Feb;13(1):53-7. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.6049.


Objectives: The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of massage on nausea, anxiety, and depression in patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.

Design: This work was a single-center, prospective, randomized, controlled trial.

Settings/location: This study was conducted in an oncology clinic, in a hospital in southwestern Sweden.

Subjects: Thirty-nine (39) women (mean age = 51.8) with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy were enrolled.

Interventions: The patients were randomly assigned to a massage therapy group (20 minutes of massage on five occasions) or a control group (five 20-minute visits).

Outcome measures: All patients recorded nausea and anxiety on the Visual Analogue Scale before and after each intervention. They also completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

Results: Massage treatment significantly reduced nausea compared with control treatment (p = 0.025) when improvement was measured as a percentage of the five treatment periods. Differences in anxiety and depression between the two treatment regimes could not be statistically demonstrated.

Conclusions: This study complements previous studies on the effect of massage and supports the conclusion that massage reduces nausea in these patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / chemically induced*
  • Nausea / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Sweden
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Women's Health*


  • Antineoplastic Agents