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Massage Therapy: A Comfort Intervention for Cardiac Surgery Patients


doi: 10.1097/01.NUR.0000270014.97457.d5
Continuing Education: CE Feature Article

Integrative therapies have gained support in the literature as a method to control pain and anxiety. Many institutions have integrated massage therapy into their programs. Few studies have looked at the specific benefits of massage therapy for cardiac surgical patients. These patients undergo long surgical procedures and often complain of back, shoulder, and neck pain or general stress and tension. Clinical nurse specialist identify the benefits for patients and bring the evidence on massage therapy to the clinical setting. This article will provide an overview of the benefits of massage in the reduction of pain, anxiety, and tension in cardiac surgical patients. Reports of benefits seen with integration of massage in 1 cardiac surgical unit as part of evidence-based practice initiative for management of pain will be described. A clinical case example of a patient who has experienced cardiac surgery and received massage therapy will be shared.

From St. Thoracic/Vascular Intensive Care Unit (Ms Anderson) and Cardiac Surgery/Transplant Unit (Ms Cutshall), Mary's Hospital-Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

Corresponding author: Patricia G. Anderson, MS, RN, 625 Union Street, NE, Chatfield, MN 55923 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.