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Fibromyalgia Pain and Substance P Decrease and Sleep Improves After Massage Therapy

Field, Tiffany; Diego, Miguel; Cullen, Christy; Hernandez-Reif, Maria; Sunshine, William; Douglas, Steven

JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology: April 2002 - Volume 8 - Issue 2 - p 72-76
Original Articles

Massage therapy has been observed to be helpful in some patients with fibromyalgia. This study was designed to examine the effects of massage therapy versus relaxation therapy on sleep, substance P, and pain in fibromyalgia patients. Twenty-four adult fibromyalgia patients were assigned randomly to a massage therapy or relaxation therapy group. They received 30-minute treatments twice weekly for 5 weeks. Both groups showed a decrease in anxiety and depressed mood immediately after the first and last therapy sessions. However, across the course of the study, only the massage therapy group reported an increase in the number of sleep hours and a decrease in their sleep movements. In addition, substance P levels decreased, and the patients’ physicians assigned lower disease and pain ratings and rated fewer tender points in the massage therapy group.

Touch Research Institutes (TF, MD, CC, MH-R, WS), University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (SD), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Address correspondence to: Tiffany Field, PhD, Touch Research Institutes, P.O. Box 016820, Miami, FL 33101. E-mail:

Supported by National Institutes of Mental Health Senior Research Scientist Award MH00331 to Tiffany Field and a grant from Johnson & Johnson to the Touch Research Institutes.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.