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Massage modalities and symptoms reported by cancer patients: narrative review

Myers CDWalton TBratsman LWilson JSmall B. "Massage modalities and symptoms reported by cancer patients: narrative review," Journal for the Society for Integrative Oncology, 2008 Winter; 6 (1): 19-28.
Source:
H.Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL 33612-9497, USA. cynthia.myers@moffitt.orgAbstract:

Massage modalities and symptoms reported by cancer patients: narrative review

The results of several studies on the use of massage therapies for cancer patients have been published in the peer-reviewed literature over the past 20 years. The current article provides a summary and critique of published studies in which patient-reported symptom ratings were assessed in relation to massage. Twenty-two studies are discussed. Most studies were on Swedish massage, followed by aromatherapy massage, foot reflexology, and acupressure. Symptoms assessed as outcomes included pain, fatigue, anxiety, nausea, and depression. Study designs included uncontrolled observational studies, crossover designs, and quasiexperimental and randomized controlled studies. Several studies included methodologic limitations such as small sample sizes, lack of blinded assessment, lack of accounting for subject attrition in statistical analyses, and other limitations. The results of the studies reviewed are mixed and vary as a function of several study characteristics. The most consistent symptom reduction was anxiety reduction. Additional well-designed studies are needed. Several recommendations are offered for future studies.

Reflexology used for cancer patients

Reflexology used for cancer patients

Ten minute reflexology treatments can provide relief from pain, nausea and anxiety, according to a report from the School of Nursing, Division of Science and Design, University of Canberra, Australia.

Nurses at the School conducted an empirical study on the use of foot massage as a nursing intervention in patients hospitalised with cancer. The study was developed from the earlier work of Ferrell-Torry and Glick (1992).

87 patients participated in the study and each received a 10-minute reflexology foot massage (5 minutes per foot) . The results revealed that the treatments produced a significant and immediate effect on the patients’ perceptions of pain, nausea, and relaxation, when measured with a visual analog scale. The use of reflexology foot massage as a complementary method is recommended as a relatively simple nursing intervention for patients experiencing nausea or pain related to the cancer experience. The results were so positive that the researchers recommend that further research using larger numbers of patients in controlled clinical trials into its effectiveness of reflexology in alleviating pain, nausea and anxiety in the management of these symptoms by the family at home is warranted.

Foot massage. A nursing intervention to modify the distressing symptoms of pain and nausea in patients hospitalized with cancer. Grealish L, Lomasney A, Whiteman BCancer Nurs 2000 Jun;23(3):237-43

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