The effect of deep-tissue massage therapy on blood pressure and heart rate

J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Mar;14(2):125-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.0665.


Aim: In the present study, we describe the effects of deep tissue massage on systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure.

Materials and methods: The study involved 263 volunteers (12% males and 88% females), with an average age of 48.5. Overall muscle spasm/muscle strain was described as either moderate or severe for each patient. Baseline blood pressure and heart rate were measured via an automatic blood pressure cuff. Twenty-one (21) different soothing CDs played in the background as the deep tissue massage was performed over the course of the study. The massages were between 45 and 60 minutes in duration. The data were analyzed using analysis of variance with post-hoc Scheffe's F-test.

Results: Results of the present study demonstrated an average systolic pressure reduction of 10.4 mm Hg (p<0.06), a diastolic pressure reduction of 5.3 mm Hg (p<0.04), a mean arterial pressure reduction of 7.0 mm Hg (p<0.47), and an average heart rate reduction of 10.8 beats per minute (p<0.0003), respectively.

Conclusions: Additional scientific research in this area is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome