In a study of 60 nurses working in an Australian hospital 15 minutes of massage therapy once each week for 5 weeks reportedly reduced psychological stress levels compared to no massage.

Although there was no change in urinary cortisol levels or blood pressure readings, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) scores decreased over the five weeks for those participants who received a weekly massage. The STAI scores of the control group increased over the five-week period. These differences between the groups were statistically significant.

OK, I know what you are thinking. There were no changes in objective measures, STAI is a self-report assessment device, and the study was not blinded.

But aside from these technicalities, don’t you agree with the logic that a weekly massage, or perhaps just looking forward to a weekly massage is a positive thing?

I do.

Illustration: Spring Health Leisure Clubs

7/1/06 17:06 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.