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Mayo Study Shows Massage Reduces Pain, Anxiety & Tension after Surgery

17 Mar

In this RCT (randomized, controlled trial) researchers from the Mayo Clinic evaluated the effect of post-operative massage in patients who had undergone abdominal colorectal surgery, and found that it had a consistent, statistically significant, positive effect.

One hundred twenty-seven patients were randomized to receive either a 20-min massage (n = 61) or a social visit and relaxation session with no massage; n = 66) on the second and third day after surgery.

Vital signs and psychological well-being (pain, tension, anxiety, satisfaction with care, relaxation) were assessed before and after each intervention.

Analysis of the data shows that postoperative massage significantly improved the patients' perception of pain, tension, and anxiety, but did not change their overall satisfaction with the care they received.

The Mayo investigators conclude that massage may be beneficial during postoperative recovery for patients undergoing abdominal colorectal surgery. But further studies are warranted to better determine the best post-op times to use these interventions and for how long.

Citation: Dreyer NE1, Cutshall SM1, Huebner M2, Foss DM3, Lovely JK4, Bauer BA5, Cima RR3. Effect of massage therapy on pain, anxiety, relaxation, and tension after colorectal surgery: A randomized study. Complement Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2015 Aug;21 (3):pages 154-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.06.004. Epub 2015 Jun 12. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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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.