Massage therapy reduces pain in pregnant women, alleviates prenatal depression in both parents and improves their relationships

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2008 Apr;12(2):146-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2007.06.003. Epub 2007 Oct 2.


Prenatally depressed women (N=47) were randomly assigned to a group that received massage twice weekly from their partners from 20 weeks gestation until the end of pregnancy or a control group. Self-reported leg pain, back pain, depression, anxiety and anger decreased more for the massaged pregnant women than for the control group women. In addition, the partners who massaged the pregnant women versus the control group partners reported less depressed mood, anxiety and anger across the course of the massage therapy period. Finally, scores on a relationship questionnaire improved more for both the women and the partners in the massage group. These data suggest that not only mood states but also relationships improve mutually when depressed pregnant women are massaged by their partners.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Depression / rehabilitation*
  • Family Relations*
  • Fathers / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage* / methods
  • Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult