Effect of therapeutic Swedish massage on anxiety level and vital signs of Intensive Care Unit patients

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017 Jul;21(3):565-568. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.08.009. Epub 2016 Aug 24.


Objective: To evaluate how Swedish massage affects the level of anxiety and vital signs of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients.

Methods: Quasi-experimental study.

Inclusion criteria: ICU patients, 18-50 years old, cooperative, respiratory and hemodynamic stable, not under invasive mechanical ventilation.

Exclusion criteria: allergic to massage oil, vascular or orthopedic post-operative, skin lesions, thrombosis, fractures. A 30-min Swedish massage was applied once.

Variables: arterial pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, S-STAI questionnaire. Timing of evaluation: pre-massage, immediately post-massage, 30 min post-massage. Comparison: T-test, corrected by Bonferroni method, level of significance of 5%, confidence interval of 95%.

Results: 48 patients included, 30 (62.5%) female, mean age 55.46 (15.70) years old. Mean S-STAI pre-massage: 42.51 (9.48); immediately post-massage: 29.34 (6.37); 30 min post-massage: 32.62 (8.56), p < 0.001 for all comparison. Mean vital signs achieved statistical significance between pre-massage and immediately post-massage.

Conclusion: Swedish massage reduced anxiety of ICU patients immediately and 30 min post-massage. Vital signs were reduced immediately post-massage.

Keywords: Anxiety; Intensive Care Units; Massage.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Massage / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Rate
  • Sweden
  • Young Adult