Massage reduces distress in cancer patients

Swedish massage in hospitalized oncology patients enhances their course of treatment, according to researchers at the Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia.

First, the details.

  • 251 patients with cancer volunteered to participate in this 3-year study.

And, the results.

  • There was a statistically significant reduction in distress as reported by the patients for pain, physical discomfort, emotional discomfort, and fatigue.
  • This reduction in patient distress was observed regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or cancer type.

The bottom line?
A recent review of CAM for cancer survivors listed massage therapy as an option supported by the scientific literature. A tabular review of the relevant studies can be found here (follow the link).

And in Washington State, massage therapists are among the most often consulted CAM professionals during initial and ongoing cancer treatment.

For pain management at the end of life, Dr. Perry Fine from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City says that an advantage of massage is that it can be taught to family members.

6/25/08 18:58 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.