Effect of therapeutic massage on insomnia and climacteric symptoms in postmenopausal women

Climacteric. 2012 Feb;15(1):21-9. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2011.587557. Epub 2011 Oct 23.


Introduction: Physiological and psychological alterations in the climacteric period frequently influence women's quality of life. Hot flushes, nocturia, mood alterations, respiratory disturbances, insomnia and restless leg syndrome all affect sleep, and the altered hormonal state in this period impacts the aging process. As hormonal therapy is not indicated in some cases, the search for complementary therapies, such as massage therapy, to improve insomnia in the climacteric period is increasing.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of therapeutic massage on insomnia and climacteric symptoms in postmenopausal women.

Methods: Forty-four volunteers were randomly distributed into three groups: therapeutic massage (TM), passive movement (PM) and control (CTL). The women received 32 therapeutic massage sessions and passive movement twice a week. Questionnaires were given in the pre-trial and the 16th and 32nd sessions. The Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Menopause Quality of Life questionnaire (MENQOL), Kupperman Menopausal Index and Lipp Symptoms of Stress Inventory were assessed. In addition, the women underwent polysomnography at baseline and post-treatment. Statistical analyses were calculated using Friedman and Wilcoxon non-parametric tests. The level of significance was fixed at p ≤ 0.05.

Results: There was an improvement in ISI in the TM group (p = 0.000) and in the PM group (p = 0.001). A decrease in the BDI occurred in the TM group (p = 0.004), and the MENQOL improved in the TM group (p = 0.015). Furthermore, there were no significant differences in polysomnography parameters in the TM group, with only an increase in minimal saturation (p = 0.053).

Conclusion: The TM group exhibited improved subjective data considering the changes in symptoms according to the ISI and the MENQOL and a decrease in symptoms according to the BDI.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affective Symptoms / complications
  • Affective Symptoms / physiopathology
  • Affective Symptoms / therapy
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hot Flashes / complications
  • Hot Flashes / psychology
  • Hot Flashes / therapy
  • Humans
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Motion Therapy, Continuous Passive / methods*
  • Polysomnography / methods*
  • Postmenopause*
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / complications
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / psychology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / complications
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / psychology
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / therapy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome