Massage therapy: a comfort intervention for cardiac surgery patients

Clin Nurse Spec. 2007 May-Jun;21(3):161-5; quiz 166-7. doi: 10.1097/01.NUR.0000270014.97457.d5.


Integrative therapies have gained support in the literature as a method to control pain and anxiety. Many institutions have integrated massage therapy into their programs. Few studies have looked at the specific benefits of massage therapy for cardiac surgical patients. These patients undergo long surgical procedures and often complain of back, shoulder, and neck pain or general stress and tension. Clinical nurse specialist identify the benefits for patients and bring the evidence on massage therapy to the clinical setting. This article will provide an overview of the benefits of massage in the reduction of pain, anxiety, and tension in cardiac surgical patients. Reports of benefits seen with integration of massage in 1 cardiac surgical unit as part of evidence-based practice initiative for management of pain will be described. A clinical case example of a patient who has experienced cardiac surgery and received massage therapy will be shared.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Back Pain / psychology
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Neck Pain / etiology
  • Neck Pain / prevention & control*
  • Neck Pain / psychology
  • Nurse Clinicians / organization & administration
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Nursing Evaluation Research
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Pain, Postoperative / psychology
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome