Effect of massage on serum level of beta-endorphin and beta-lipotropin in healthy adults

Phys Ther. 1987 Jun;67(6):926-30. doi: 10.1093/ptj/67.6.926.


We conducted this study to evaluate the effect of massage on the levels of endogenous opiates in peripheral venous blood. The results were based on findings from 21 healthy, adult volunteers. After separation by sex, the volunteers were assigned randomly to either the Control Group (n = 11) that rested but received no massage or the Experimental Group (n = 10) that received a 30-minute complete back massage. We found no significant pretreatment or posttreatment difference in blood beta-endorphin or beta-lipotropin levels between the groups. The results indicate that massage did not change significantly the measured serum levels of beta-endorphin or beta-lipotropin in our healthy subjects without pain. A follow-up study using patients experiencing acute or chronic back pain is recommended. Massage is used routinely in the treatment of such patients, and endogenous opiates are recognized as a possible mechanism for pain relief.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Endorphins / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Pain / blood
  • Pain Management
  • beta-Endorphin
  • beta-Lipotropin / blood*


  • Endorphins
  • beta-Endorphin
  • beta-Lipotropin