Depression afflicts the whole organism, body as well as experience and behaviour. Therefore, therapeutic touch, i.e. a direct body-to-body approach might be helpful in depression, as it has been known and practiced in medicine centuries ago. We investigated the antidepressive effects of an one hour lasting, relaxing, very sensitive soft treatment (Slow Stroke Massage) in a double controlled study comparing massage with a control condition and also comparing effects in depressed patients vs. healthy subjects. The treatment was repeated 5 times within intervals of 2-3 days. Data of 32 acutely depressed in-patients was analyzed. The pre-post-differences in various dimensions were significantly greater during massage than during the control condition. They were also more marked in patients as compared to healthy subjects.
Conclusion: Slow Stroke Massage can be used effectively and safely as a complimentary therapeutic strategy in depressed patients.