Effect of massage therapy on pain, anxiety, relaxation, and tension after colorectal surgery: A randomized study

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 Aug;21(3):154-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.06.004. Epub 2015 Jun 12.


The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effect of postoperative massage in patients undergoing abdominal colorectal surgery. One hundred twenty-seven patients were randomized to receive a 20-min massage (n = 61) or social visit and relaxation session (no massage; n = 66) on postoperative days 2 and 3. Vital signs and psychological well-being (pain, tension, anxiety, satisfaction with care, relaxation) were assessed before and after each intervention. The study results indicated that postoperative massage significantly improved the patients' perception of pain, tension, and anxiety, but overall satisfaction was unchanged. In conclusion, massage may be beneficial during postoperative recovery for patients undergoing abdominal colorectal surgery. Further studies are warranted to optimize timing and duration and to determine other benefits in this clinical setting.

Keywords: Anxiety; Complementary therapies; Integrative medicine; Massage; Pain; Surgery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Colorectal Surgery / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Relaxation*