Objective: To investigate acute effects of traditional Thai massage (TTM) on brain electrical activity (electroencephalogram (EEG) signals), anxiety and pain in patients with scapulocostal syndrome (SCS).
Design: A single-blind, randomized clinical trial.
Setting: The School of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Thailand.
Intervention: Forty patients, who were diagnosed with SCS, were randomly allocated to receive a 30-min session of either TTM or physical therapy (PT) using ultrasound therapy and hot packs.
Outcomes: Electroencephalogram (EEG), State Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and pain intensity rating.
Results: Results showed that both TTM and PT were associated with significant decreases in anxiety and pain intensity (p<0.01). However, there was a significantly greater reduction in anxiety and pain intensity for the TTM group when compared with the PT group. Analysis of EEG in the TTM group showed a significant increase in relaxation, manifested as an increase in delta activity (p<0.05) and a decrease in theta, alpha and beta activity (p<0.01). Similar changes were not found in the PT group. The EEG measures were also significantly different when compared between the groups (p<0.01), except for delta activity (p=0.051), indicating lower states of arousal with the TTM treatment.
Conclusion: It is suggested that TTM provides acute neural effects that increase relaxation and decrease anxiety and pain intensity in patients with SCS.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01201733.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.