Benefits of massage in women with breast cancer

 Researchers from the Charité Center for Internal Medicine and Dermatology in Berlin, Germany report benefits in women with early stage breast cancer.

First, the details.

  • 86 women with breast cancer were randomly assigned to massage or a control group.
  • For 5 weeks, the massage group received twice-weekly 30-minute classical massage in the back and head-neck areas.
  • The control group received no additional treatment to their routine healthcare.
  • Treatment effects were recorded using questionnaires before and after 5 weeks of massage, and 11 weeks later.

And, the results.

  • There was a significantly greater reduction of physical discomfort with massage vs the control group at the end of massage treatment and 11 weeks later.
  • A decrease in fatigue was also observed.
  • Women in the massage group reported significantly lower mood disturbances at completion of treatment but not 11 weeks later.
  • The effect of treatment on mood disturbances was significantly higher if the same masseur treated a patient.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Classical massage seems to be an effective adjuvant treatment for reducing physical discomfort and fatigue, and improving mood disturbances in women with early stage breast cancer.”

According to a recent survey of Australian women with breast cancer, 88% reportedly used CAM, and 41% of them used massage.

2/6/09 21:36 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.