Objective: To determine quantitatively if a unique rehabilitation program using traditional Thai massage, herbal treatments and physical therapies could improve activities of daily living, mood and sleep patterns, and pain intensity of stroke patients over time.
Methods: This was a prospective cohort study, conducted over a three-month period. Patients were recruited from a 42-bed rehabilitation centre in Northern Thailand, which admits mainly stroke, head injury and spinal patients for rehabilitation.
Results: There were 62 patients enrolled in the study, with 55% being male. The average age of patients was 59 years and 63% were married. The average time since the initial stroke was 15 months. At baseline, the average Barthel Index score was 50.7, and the average emotion, pain and sleep scores were 2.6, 3.1, and 3.2, respectively. After adjusting for age, gender and time since initial stroke in the longitudinal model, the Barthel Index significantly improved by 6.1 points after one month (P<0.01) and by 14.2 points after three months (P<0.01); emotion significantly improved by 0.7 points after one month (P<0.01) and by 0.9 points after three months (P<0.01); pain significantly improved by 0.5 points after one month (P<0.01) and by 0.5 points after three months (P<0.01); sleep significantly improved by 0.5 points after one month (P<0.01) and by 0.6 points after three months (P<0.01).
Conclusion: This unique stroke rehabilitation program has produced significant improvements in activities of daily living, mood, pain and sleep patterns of stroke patients. These findings warrant the need for further research to compare patients undergoing this program of rehabilitation with patients undergoing more conventional rehabilitation programs.