Massage therapy provides benefits that are statistically superior to a social attention control on pain intensity, mood status, and muscle relaxation in hospitalized Taiwanese patients with metastatic bone pain.
To date, patients with bony metastases were only a small fraction of the samples studied, or they were entirely excluded. Patients with metastatic cancers, such as bone metastases, are more likely to report pain, compared to patients without metastatic cancer (50–74% and 15%, respectively). Their cancer pain results in substantial morbidity and disrupted quality of life in 34–45% of cancer patients. Massage therapy (MT) appears to have positive effects in patients with cancer; however, the benefits of MT, specifically in patients with metastatic bone pain, remains unknown. The purpose of this randomized clinical trial was to compare the efficacy of MT to a social attention control condition on pain intensity, mood status, muscle relaxation, and sleep quality in a sample (n = 72) of Taiwanese cancer patients with bone metastases. In this investigation, MT was shown to have beneficial within- or between-subjects effects on pain, mood, muscle relaxation, and sleep quality. Results from repeated-measures analysis of covariance demonstrated that massage resulted in a linear trend of improvements in mood and relaxation over time. More importantly, the reduction in pain with massage was both statistically and clinically significant, and the massage-related effects on relaxation were sustained for at least 16–18 hours postintervention. Furthermore, massage-related effects on sleep were associated with within-subjects effects. Future studies are suggested with increased sample sizes, a longer interventional period duration, and an objective and sensitive measure of sleep. Overall, results from this study support employing MT as an adjuvant to other therapies in improving bone pain management.
aDepartment of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
bSchool of Nursing, Hung Kuang University, Taiwan
cCollege of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
dDivision of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan
eBiobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
fPsychosocial & Community Health Systems, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
gDepartment of Nursing, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan
hAdministration Center of Medical Research Department, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taiwan
*Corresponding author. Address: Administration Center of Medical Research Department, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, No 123, Dinghu Road, Kwei-Shan Hsiang, Tao-Yuan County 33342, Taiwan. Tel.: +886 3 319 6200x3710; fax: +886 3319 8001.
Submitted January 24, 2011; revised May 4, 2011; accepted June 21, 2011.