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Effects of Massage on Blood Pressure in Patients With Hypertension and Prehypertension

A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Liao, I-Chen MSN, RN; Chen, Shiah-Lian PhD; Wang, Mei-Yeh PhD; Tsai, Pei-Shan PhD

doi: 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000217
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Background: Massage may help reduce blood pressure; previous studies on the effect of massage on blood pressure have presented conflicting findings. In addition, no systematic review is available.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the evidence concerning the effect of massage on blood pressure in patients with hypertension or prehypertension.

Methods: A search was performed on electronic database records up to October 31, 2013, based on the following medical subject headings or keywords: hypertension, massage, chiropractic, manipulation, and blood pressure. The methodological quality of randomized controlled trials was assessed based on the Cochrane collaboration tool. A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the effect of massage on hypertension. The study selection, data extraction, and validation were performed independently by 2 reviewers.

Results: Nine randomized controlled trials met our inclusion criteria. The results of this study show that massage contributes to significantly enhanced reduction in both systolic blood pressure (SBP) (mean difference, −7.39 mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (mean difference, −5.04 mm Hg) as compared with control treatments in patients with hypertension and prehypertension. The effect size (Hedges g) for SBP and DBP was −0.728 (95% confidence interval, −1.182 to −0.274; P = .002) and −0.334 (95% confidence interval, −0.560 to −0.107; P = .004), respectively.

Conclusion: This systematic review found a medium effect of massage on SBP and a small effect on DBP in patients with hypertension or prehypertension. High-quality randomized controlled trials are urgently required to confirm these results, although the findings of this study can be used to guide future research.

I-Chen Liao, MSN, RN Doctoral Student, Graduate Institute of Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taipei; and Department of Nursing, College of Medicine and Nursing, Hung Kuang University, Taichung, Taiwan.

Shiah-Lian Chen, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, National Tai-Chung University of Science and Technology, Taichung, Taiwan.

Mei-Yeh Wang, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, Cardinal Tien Junior College of Healthcare and Management, New Taipei City, Taiwan.

Pei-Shan Tsai, PhD Professor and Associate Dean, Graduate Institute of Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University; and Sleep Science Center, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence Pei-Shan Tsai, PhD, Graduate Institute of Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, 250 Wu-Hsing St, Taipei City, Taiwan 110, ROC (ptsai@tmu.edu.tw).

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