Burn injuries benefit from massage therapy

J Burn Care Rehabil. May-Jun 1998;19(3):241-4. doi: 10.1097/00004630-199805000-00010.


Twenty-eight adult patients with burns were randomly assigned before debridement to either a massage therapy group or a standard treatment control group. State anxiety and cortisol levels decreased, and behavior ratings of state, activity, vocalizations, and anxiety improved after the massage therapy sessions on the first and last days of treatment. Longer-term effects were also significantly better for the massage therapy group including decreases in depression and anger, and decreased pain on the McGill Pain Questionnaire, Present Pain Intensity scale, and Visual Analogue Scale. Although the underlying mechanisms are not known, these data suggest that debridement sessions were less painful after the massage therapy sessions due to a reduction in anxiety, and that the clinical course was probably enhanced as the result of a reduction in pain, anger, and depression.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Burns / psychology
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Debridement*
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Wound Healing


  • Hydrocortisone