ElderlyMassageSleep (Insomnia)

Might massage reduce the use of sedative-hypnotic drugs at bedtime?

insomniaResearchers from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania tell us, “Despite known adverse effects, sedative-hypnotic drugs are widely used in institutional settings serving the elderly.”

They studied the potential of massage at bedtime to reduce their use.

First, the details.

  • 28 elderly patients were randomly assigned to massage or no massage at bedtime for 7 days.

And, the results.

  • There was a 13% greater reduction in requests for sedative hypnotic drugs among those who received massage vs the group that did not receive massage.
  • The difference was not statistically significant.

The bottom line?
It’s possible that the lack of statistical significance is a reflection of too few study participants. And, the authors concluded that more study is needed.

An earlier review of massage and effleurage (light touch) concluded, “These interventions promote relaxation and sleep, and are perceived as very pleasant by the elderly.”

My PubMed search revealed no other studies of the effect of massage on the request for sedative hypnotic drugs among the elderly.

11/14/09 12:41 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 www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.