Atopic dermatitis symptoms decreased in children following massage therapy

Pediatr Dermatol. Sep-Oct 1998;15(5):390-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1470.1998.1998015390.x.


Young children with atopic dermatitis were treated with standard topical care and massaged by their parents for 20 minutes daily for a 1 month period. A control group received standard topical care only. The children's affect and activity level significantly improved, and their parent's anxiety decreased immediately after the massage therapy sessions. Over the 1 month period, parents of massaged children reported lower anxiety levels in their children, and the children improved significantly on all clinical measures including redness, scaling, lichenification, excoriation, and pruritus. The control group only improved significantly on the scaling measure. These data suggest that massage therapy may be a cost-effective adjunct treatment for atopic dermatitis, since there is a one-time expense of $30 for the child to receive the massage and the parent to learn the technique.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / psychology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy*
  • Emollients / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage* / economics
  • Massage* / psychology
  • Parents / psychology


  • Emollients
  • Glucocorticoids