Long-term effect of massage therapy on blood pressure in prehypertensive women

J Educ Health Promot. 2018 Apr 3;7:54. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_88_16. eCollection 2018.


Background: Prehypertension is one of the cardiovascular disease predicators. Management of prehypertension is an appropriate objective for clinicians in a wide range of medical centers. Massage therapy is primarily nonpharmacological treatment that is used to control blood pressure (BP). This study intends to investigate the long-term effect of massage therapy on BP in prehypertensive women.

Methods: This was a single-blind clinical trial study conducted on 50 prehypertensive women who referred to Sedigheh Tahereh Cardiovascular Center, during 6 months in 2009. Participants were selected by simple random sampling and were divided into control and intervention groups. The test group (25 patients) received massage for 10-15 min, three times a week for 10 sessions, and the control group (25 patients) was relaxed in the same environment but with no massage. Their BP was measured before and after each session and 72 h and 2 weeks after finishing the massage therapy. Analyzing the data was done using descriptive and inferential statistical methods (Chi-square, Mann-Whitney, paired t-test, and Student's t-test) through SPSS software version 18 and a significant level was considered as P < 0.05.

Results: The results indicated that the mean systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) in the massage group were significantly lower in comparison with the control group (P < 0.001). Evaluation of durability of the massage effects on BP also indicated that 72 h after finishing the study, still there was a significant difference between the test and control groups in SBP and DBP (P < 0.001), but after 2 weeks, there was not a significant difference in SBP and DBP (P > 0.05) between the two groups.

Conclusions: Although massage therapy seems to be a safe, effective, applicable, and cost-effective intervention to control BP of prehypertensive women, its effects do not persist for a long time.

Keywords: Blood pressure; long-term effect; massage therapy; prehypertension.