Anxiety (Panic)/DepressionMassagePregnancy

Benefits of massage on pregnancy and infants

Researchers from the University of Miami Medical School, in Florida reported benefits in mothers and their offspring.

First, the details.

  • Pregnant women with major depression were given 12 weeks of twice weekly massage therapy by their significant other or standard treatment as a control group.

And, the results.

  • The massage therapy group women had reduced depression by the end of the therapy.
  • They also had reduced depression and cortisol blood levels following delivery.
  • Their newborns were less likely to be born prematurely and have low birth weight.
  • There were lower cortisol levels and better performance on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment habituation, orientation, and motor scales.

The bottom line?

It’s not clear from the abstract how many women participated in the study.

However, the benefits of massage in pregnant women have been know for at least 10 years. Dr. Tiffany Field who is Director of the Touch Research Institutes tells us that research in pregnant women has documented fewer perinatal complications and reduce prematurity.

More recently she reported that massage reduced not only depression and anxiety, but also the hormones associated with depression and anxiety (norepinephrine and cortisol. Serotonin, the antidepressant neurotransmitter, was increased.

8/9/09 19:29 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.