Benefits of combining massage therapy with group interpersonal psychotherapy in prenatally depressed women

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2009 Oct;13(4):297-303. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2008.10.002. Epub 2009 Jan 31.


One hundred and twelve pregnant women who were diagnosed depressed were randomly assigned to a group who received group Interpersonal Psychotherapy or to a group who received both group Interpersonal Psychotherapy and massage therapy. The group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (1h sessions) and massage therapy (20 min sessions) were held once per week for 6 weeks. The data suggested that the group who received psychotherapy plus massage attended more sessions on average, and a greater percentage of that group completed the 6-week program. The group who received both therapies also showed a greater decrease in depression, depressed affect and somatic-vegetative symptom scores on the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), a greater decrease in anxiety scale (STAI) scores and a greater decrease in cortisol levels. The group therapy process appeared to be effective for both groups as suggested by the increased expression of both positive and negative affect and relatedness during the group therapy sessions. Thus, the data highlight the effectiveness of group Interpersonal Psychotherapy and particularly when combined with massage therapy for reducing prenatal depression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / blood
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Depressive Disorder / blood
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Massage*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Hydrocortisone