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Massage and Guided Imagery Reduce Stress before Cardiac Catheterization

27 Nov

Researchers from the Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak MI evaluated the effectiveness of massage therapy, with or without guided imagery, in reducing anxiety prior to cardiac catheterization.

A total of 55 inpatients and outpatients received massage, guided imagery, or massage with guided imagery prior to cardiac catheterization. Self-reported anxiety levels and blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were evaluated in participants and a matched comparison group.

Massage with and without guided imagery resulted in significant reductions in self-reported anxiety (p < 0.0001). Additionally, patients receiving the intervention had lower diastolic BP and HR vs. the comparison group (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.05).

The investigators conclude that massage, with or without guided imagery, immediately reduces self-reported anxiety. However, this pilot study has certain limitations: a non-randomized, convenience sample and a matched control group that was created retrospectively.

All that notwithstanding, the study indicates a benefit to providing massage or massage with guided imagery prior to anxiety-inducing medical procedures such as cardiac catheterization.

Citation: Armstrong K1, Dixon S2, May S3, Patricolo GE4. Anxiety reduction in patients undergoing cardiac catheterization following massage and guided imagery. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2014 Aug 23. pii: S1744-3881(14)00049-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.07.009. [Epub ahead of print] This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.