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Massage for Seniors: Directory of Scientific Studies

Massage for Seniors: Directory of Scientific Studies

By Maurice

Massage for Seniors: Directory of Scientific Studies

On this page we've gathered all of the studies we could find on the benefits of massage therapy (and massagers) for the elderly. 

If you know of a study we've missed, please contact us!


Table of Contents


Study Name

Type of Massage

n/a

Publication

International Journal of Neuroscience

Purpose

In this article the positive effects of massage therapy on biochemistry are reviewed including decreased levels of cortisol and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine.

Methods

The research reviewed includes studies on depression (including sex abuse and eating disorder studies), pain syndrome studies, research on auto-immune conditions (including asthma and chronic fatigue), immune studies (including HIV and breast cancer), and studies on the reduction of stress on the job, the stress of aging, and pregnancy stress.

Results

In studies in which cortisol was assayed either in saliva or in urine, significant decreases were noted in cortisol levels (averaging decreases 31%). In studies in which the activating neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) were assayed in urine, an average increase of 28% was noted for serotonin and an average increase of 31% was noted for dopamine.

Conclusion

These studies combined suggest the stress-alleviating effects (decreased cortisol) and the activating effects (increased serotonin and dopamine) of massage therapy on a variety of medical conditions and stressful experiences.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Back massage; Hand massage

Publication

Journal of Clinical Nursing

Purpose

This review examines the physiological and psychological effects of slow-stroke back massage and hand massage on relaxation in older people and identifies effective protocols for massage in older people.

Methods

Cooper’s five-stage model was used in the review process. The search strategy included all studies without limiters for dates through June 2009 in the following databases: Ovid Medline, Cochrane databases, PubMed, EBSCO, CINAHL, Health Resource, PychINFO and EMB Reviews 1991–June 2009. The quality of the research was evaluated using the Research Appraisal Checklist. Twenty-one studies met the inclusion criteria for massage, relevance to older people and rigorous research.

Results

All studies using slow-stroke back massage and hand massage showed statistically significant improvements on physiological or psychological indicators of relaxation. The most common protocols were three-minute slow-stroke back massage and 10-minute hand massage.

Conclusion

Physiological and psychological indicators suggest the effectiveness of slow-stroke back massage and hand massage in promoting relaxation in older people across all settings.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Back massage

Publication

Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery

Purpose

This study explores the effect of slow-stroke back massages on anxiety and shoulder pain in hospitalized elderly patients with stroke.

Methods

An experimental quantitative design was conducted, comparing the scores for self-reported pain, anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate and pain of two groups of patients before and immediately after, and three days after the intervention. The intervention consisted of ten minutes of slow-stroke back massage (SSBM) for seven consecutive evenings. One hundred and two patients participated in the entire study and were randomly assigned to a massage group or a control group.

Results

The results revealed that the massage intervention significantly reduced the patients’ levels of pain perception and anxiety. In addition to the subjective measures, all physiological measures (systolic and diastolic blood pressures and heart rate) changed positively, indicating relaxation.


The prolonged effect of SSBM was also evident, as reflected by the maintenance of the psycho-physiological parameters three days after the massage. The patients’ perceptions of SSBM, determined from a questionnaire, revealed positive support for SSBM for elderly stroke patients.

Conclusion

The authors suggest that SSBM is an effective nursing intervention for reducing shoulder pain and anxiety in elderly patients with stroke.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Back massage

Publication

Health Notions

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of back massage on the decrease of pain in elderly in Social House Tresna Werdha Bondowoso.

Methods

The design of this study used the control group pretest-postets design. The sample size was 40 elderly. In this study back massage technique was given 3 times with a duration of 45 minutes. Statistical test using T-test with p-value of 0.00.

Results

n/a

Conclusion

Back masage therapy provides positive energy for the elderly where this therapy provides a sense of relaxation and comfort for the elderly so that the pain felt by the elderly decreased as a result of the technique that gives a comfortable sensation.

Study Name

Type of Massage

n/a

Publication

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

Purpose

Given the promising effects of massage therapy for alleviation of pain, tension, and anxiety, we studied the efficacy and feasibility of massage therapy delivered in the postoperative cardiovascular surgery setting.

Methods

Patients were randomized to receive a massage or to have quiet relaxation time (control). In total, 113 patients completed the study (massage, n = 62; control, n = 51).

Results

Patients receiving massage therapy had significantly decreased pain, anxiety, and tension. Patients were highly satisfied with the intervention, and no major barriers to implementing massage therapy were identified.

Conclusion

Massage therapy may be an important component of the healing experience for patients after cardiovascular surgery.

Study Name

Type of Massage

n/a

Publication

International Journal of Older People Nursing

Purpose

To explore the potential benefits of massage within daily routine care of the older person in residential care settings.

Methods

A literature review pertaining to massage in the older resident was conducted using a range of online databases. Fourteen studies dated 1993–2012 met the inclusion criteria and were critically evaluated as suitable resources for this review.

Results

Evidence suggests massage may be advantageous from client and nursing perspectives. Clients’ perceive massage to positively influence factors such as pain, sleep, emotional status and psychosocial health. Evidence also demonstrates massage to benefit the client and organisation by reducing the necessity for restraint and pharmacological intervention.


Massage may be incorporated into care provision and adopted by care providers and family members as an additional strategy to enhance quality of life for older people.

Conclusion

Massage offers a practical activity that can be used to enhance the health and well-being of the older person in residential care.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Back massage

Publication

Journal of Advanced Nursing

Purpose

An experimental design was used to measure the effects of back massage on anxiety levels of elderly residents in a long-term care institution.

Methods

Twenty-one residents, 17 females and four males, participated in the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to three groups which received ‘back massage with normal conversation',‘conversation only’ and ‘no intervention’ respectively.

Results

There was a statistically significant difference in the mean anxiety (STAI) score between the back massage group and the no intervention group. The difference between the back massage group and the conversation only group approached statistical significance. Verbal reports from subjects indicated that they perceived back massage as relaxing.

Conclusion

Back massage may be an effective, non-invasive technique for promoting relaxation and improving communication with patients. It was recommended that touch be encouraged in caring for the elderly and that further investigation of the effects of such therapies as back massage are indicated.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Knee massage

Publication

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

Purpose

This is a review of recently published research, both empirical studies and meta-analyses, on the effects of complementary therapies including massage therapy, yoga and tai chi on pain associated with knee osteoarthritis in the elderly.

Methods

n/a

Results

n/a

Conclusion

The massage therapy protocols have been effective in not only reducing pain but also in increasing range of motion, specifically when moderate pressure massage was used and when both the quadriceps and hamstrings were massaged.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Back massage

Publication

Europe PMC

Purpose

Insomnia is a frequent problem among elderly people. As a consequence, sedative hypnotic drugs are prescribed very often that can lead to problematic effects. As an alternative to sedative hypnotic drugs nurses use relaxing interventions to promote sleep. One of these techniques, the back massage, is very popular because of the expected relaxing effect of touch.

Methods

This review includes 16 surveys of the international nursing literature and the German literature until the year 2004, that analyse the most common intervention in Germany, the "Atemstimulierende Einreibung" (similar to Effleurage). These studies are presented and evaluated.

Results

n/a

Conclusion

The results indicate that these interventions promote relaxation and sleep and that they are perceived as very pleasant by the elderly. However; they do not explain in detail the reasons for effects these and the role of touch. This review shows that further research (RCTs) is necessary to determine the effects of back massage and "Atemstimulierende Einreibung" on relaxation and sleep.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Back massage

Publication

Hacettepe University Faculty of Health Sciences Nursing Journal

Purpose

This is an experimental study carried out to investigate the effect of back massage on vital signs and anxiety level of residents in a rest home.

Methods

This research was conducted in a rest home between 1 December 2006 and 10 May 2007 in İzmir, Turkey. The research data were collected using "Elderly Introduction Form" and "the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory". Back massage was applied to the older people at their beds between 18-20 pm three days long for 10 minutes by the researcher.

Results

The mean age of the older people in this research was 73.07 year (Range: 62-85 years), 61.9% were female, 66.7% were widowed, 47.6% graduated from elementary school. It was identified that except body temperature, there was a statistically significant decrease in the vital signs immediately after the back massage, 15-minute and 30-minute afterwards measurements. There was also a statistically significant decrease in level of anxiety after the back massage

Conclusion

Back massage was determined to decrease anxiety level and vital signs, except body temperature, of the elderly individuals.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Head massage; Face massage

Publication

Evidence Based Care Journal

Purpose

This study was conducted to determine the effects of head and face massage on agitation in elderly Alzheimer’s patients living in nursing homes in Yazd, Iran.

Methods

This randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted on two groups (n=35 in each group) from 26 September to 5 October 2016. For the patients in the intervention group, massage therapy was performed using the effleurage and compression techniques, and no intervention was implemented in the control group.


The usual way to control the symptoms of agitation was physical restraint. The Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) was used to measure the agitation level. The data were analyzed by performing Wilcoxon and Mann-Whitney tests in SPSS, version 18.

Results

The mean ages of the intervention and control groups were 82.2±10.6 and 81.5±9.6 years, respectively. The mean scores of agitation in the intervention and control groups decreased from 77.2±14.4 and 82.1±17.3 before the intervention to 49.7±6.0 and 80.8±18.3 after the intervention, respectively.


The results showed a significant difference between the two groups after the intervention (P<0.001), while no significant difference was noted between the groups before the intervention (P=0.38).

Conclusion

The findings showed that head and face massage could reduce agitation in elderly Alzheimer's patients. Thus, this technique could be considered by nurses and caregivers to reduce agitation in this population.

Study Name

Type of Massage

n/a

Publication

Scielo Brazil

Purpose

The objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the effect of therapeutic massage on insomnia, depression, and anxiety through subjective and objective parameters in postmenopausal patients with insomnia.

Methods

In this study, we selected seven postmenopausal women with insomnia: difficulty in falling sleep or insomnia symptoms for at least three times a week (mean age + SD: 56.28 + 1.97(SD), range 50 to 65 years, mean body-mass index (BMI) < 30 kg/m2).


The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Federal University of Sao Paulo (CEP#0408/07). Inclusion criteria required that individuals be in postmenopause (at least 1 year of amenorrhea before enrollment and an FSH level above 30 mlU/mL), with no previous exposure to exogenous hormones.

Results

n/a

Conclusion

The present study showed that therapeutic massage decreased the severity of subjective sleep disturbance related to menopause. First, there was a decrease in insomnia and anxiety-depressive symptoms; the treatment also suppressed other menopausal symptoms. Second, PSG findings revealed a decrease in REM latency and increased stages three and four.

Study Name

Type of Massage

n/a

Publication

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine

Purpose

To uncover and elucidate a range of patient outcomes of a therapeutic massage program within an acute care setting

Methods

n/a

Results

n/a

Conclusion

The most frequently identified outcomes were increased relaxation (98%), a sense of well-being (93%), and positive mood change (88%). More than two-thirds of patients attributed enhanced mobility, greater energy, increased participation in treatment, and faster recovery to massage therapy.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Head massage; Face massage

Publication

Critical Care Nursing

Purpose

There are few studies in the area of managing delirium by using complementary therapies. The aim of this study was “to investigate the effects of face and head massage on delirium among elderly women hospitalized in coronary care units.

Methods

This was a clinical trial study. Eighty eight elderly women with delirium were randomly allocated to either the control or the experimental groups. Women in the experimental group received fifteen-minute face and head massage therapy.

Results

n/a

Conclusion

Face and head massage therapy can reduce delirium severity; therefore, using it in adjacent to pharmacological interventions is recommended.

Study Name

Type of Massage

n/a

Publication

Complementary Therapies in Medicine

Purpose

The objective was to assess the effects of massage compared to guided relaxation on stress perception and well-being among older adults.

Methods

A randomised pilot study enrolled adults ages 60 and older to receive 50 min, twice weekly massage therapy or guided relaxation sessions. Questionnaires were administered at pre-test (1 week before the first session) and post-test (after the last session).

Results

Significant improvements were found for the anxiety, depression, vitality, general health, and positive well-being subscales of the General Well-being Schedule and for Perceived Stress among the massage participants compared to guided relaxation.

Conclusion

Findings indicate that massage therapy enhances positive well-being and reduces stress perception among community-dwelling older adults.

Study Name

Type of Massage

n/a

Publication

Novia

Purpose

This paper is the result of a content qualitative analysis of fifteen articles on the effects of massage on the well-being, socialization as well as on the physical and psychological health of elderly.

Methods

n/a

Results

n/a

Conclusion

The revision of the literature targeted in this study demonstrate a positive impact of massage and highlights that besides the primary effects such pain relief and relaxation, the use of massage enhances the well-being, health and quality of life of elderly.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Foot massage

Publication

Australasian Journal on Ageing

Purpose

To explore the effects of foot massage on agitated behaviours in older people with dementia living in long-term care.

Methods

Seventeen men and 5 women (mean age 84.7 years), with a diagnosis of dementia and a history of clinically significant agitation, received a 10-minute foot massage each day for 14 days. The short form of the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI-SF) and the Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist (RMBPC) were completed at baseline, post-test and 2-weeks follow up.

Results

CMAI-SF and RMBPC scores were significantly reduced at post-test and remained significantly lower than baseline at follow up.

Conclusion

This study provides preliminary evidence suggesting that limited short-duration foot massage reduces agitation and related behavioural problems in people with dementia, and that these behaviour changes are maintained after the massage ceases. A randomised controlled trial is required to confirm these findings.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Foot massage

Publication

Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery

Purpose

In this article, a research study in which a five-minute foot massage was offered to 25 patients (68 sessions in total) as a stress-reduction intervention is described.

Methods

A quasi-experimental repeated measures design was used to collect data before, during and after the intervention. Physiological data (heart rate, mean arterial blood pressure, respirations and peripheral oxygen saturation) were obtained from the patient bedside monitoring system.

Results

Repeated measures analysis of variance indicated there was no significant effect from the intervention on peripheral oxygen saturation. However, a significant decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and respirations was observed during the foot massage intervention.

Conclusion

Results indicated foot massage had the potential effect of increasing relaxation as evidenced by physiological changes during the brief intervention administered to critically ill patients in intensive care.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Foot massage

Publication

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

Purpose

The study aimed to compare the effects of facial massage with that of foot massage on sleep induction and vital signs of healthy adults and to test a methodology that could be used by a lone researcher in such a study.

Methods

A randomised within-group crossover pilot study of six healthy female volunteers was conducted. The interventions were a 20 min foot and a 20 min facial massage using peach-kernel base oil Prunus persica.

Results

n/a

Conclusion

A drop in systolic blood pressure of 8.5 mmHg was recorded immediately after facial massage compared to that of 1 mmHg recorded after foot massage. Both treatments were equally effective in reducing subjective levels of alertness during the interventions, with face massage marginally better at producing subjective sleepiness.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Foot massage

Publication

Journal of Advanced Nursing

Purpose

To investigate the impact of foot massage and guided relaxation on the wellbeing of patients who had undergone CABG surgery.

Methods

Twenty-five subjects were randomly assigned to either a control or one of two intervention groups. Psychological and physical variables were measured immediately before and after the intervention. A discharge questionnaire was also administered.

Results

No significant differences between physiological parameters were found. There was a significant effect of the intervention on the calm scores (ANOVA, P=0·014). Dunnett’s multiple comparison showed that this was attributable to increased calm among the massage group. Although not significant the guided relaxation group also reported substantially higher levels of calm than control.


There was a clear (nonsignificant) trend across all psychological variables for both foot massage and, to a lesser extent, guided relaxation to improve psychological wellbeing. Both interventions were well received by the subjects.

Conclusion

These interventions appear to be effective, noninvasive techniques for promoting psychological wellbeing in this patient group.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Foot massage

Publication

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

Purpose

This study was aimed at evaluating the combined effects of foot massage and patient education on anxiety, fatigue, pain, self-efficacy, and quality of life in patients undergoing CABG surgery.

Methods

In this randomized controlled trial (RCT), 130 participants were randomly allocated to experimental (n = 65) and control (n = 65) groups. The experimental group received a combination of foot massage and patient education as interventions and the control group received usual care of the hospital.

Results

The experimental group had a significant decrease in anxiety (p = 0.001), fatigue (p = 0.001), pain (p = 0.001), and increased self-efficacy (p = 0.001) and quality of life (p = 0.001).

Conclusion

The combined form of foot massage and patient education is effective in decreasing anxiety, fatigue, pain, and increasing self-efficacy and the quality of life. These interventions will support the recovery of patients and reduce their suffering.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Foot massage

Publication

International Journal of Nursing Education

Purpose

To assess the effectiveness of foot massage on pain among patients after abdominal surgery in a selected hospital of Delhi.

Methods

Quasi-experimental time series design with multiple institutions of treatment was used in this study. The sample for current study comprised of 60 patients admitted in surgical ward (1 and 24) of Safdarjung hospital of New Delhi. The experimental group was subjected to foot massage (effleurage and kneading) for 20 minutes a period of three days and control group received routine care. The pretest and posttest level of pain was assessed by Numerical pain rating scale in both the groups. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics and SPSS software.

Results

Findings revealed significant statistical difference between mean pre-test and mean posttest pain score in experimental group after the administration of foot massage and in control group (p < 0.05). Also comparing the mean score of pain severity between both groups before the intervention showed that there were no meaningful difference (p > 0.05) but this difference was meaningful after intervention i.e. foot massage (p < 0.05).

Conclusion

The foot massage was more effective in decreasing pain in patients after abdominal surgery and can be used by nurses as an easy and cheap method for treating postoperative pain with no adverse effects in addition to the pharmacological method.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Foot massage

Publication

Critical Care Nursing

Purpose

Short term foot massage helps regulate the vital signs of patients who are hospitalized for long periods of time in intensive care units. The purpose of this study was “to examine the immediate impacts of short-term foot massage on mean arterial pressure among neurosurgical patients hospitalized in intensive care units”

Methods

This quasi-experimental study was conducted in 2013 on 78 patients who had been conveniently recruited from the intensive care units of Imam Reza (PBUH) Hospital, Kermanshah, Iran. Patients were equally and randomly assigned to the experimental and the control groups. Study data were collected by using a demographic questionnaire and a blood pressure data sheet which were completed through observation, interviewing, and physiologic measurement.


Mean arterial blood pressure was measured both five and one minutes before the intervention. Then, the feet of each patient in the experimental group were massaged for five minutes and mean arterial pressure was re-measured one and five minutes afterward. The SPSS16 was used for calculating the measures of descriptive statistics and conducting the paired- and the independent-samples t tests

Results

In the experimental group, mean arterial blood pressure decreased significantly
both one minute (93.23±14.16; p=0.005) and five minutes (89.76±13.66; p<0.005) after
the study intervention. However, within-group comparison revealed that means arterial
blood pressure did not change significantly in the control group after the intervention.

Conclusion

Foot massage is effective in decreasing mean arterial pressure and giving patients a sense of calmness.

Study Name

Type of Massage

Foot massage

Publication

Cancer Nursing

Purpose

This article describes the findings of an empirical study on the use of foot massage as a nursing intervention in patients hospitalized with cancer.

Methods

n/a

Results

In a sample of 87 subjects, a 10-minute foot massage (5 minutes per foot) was found to have a significant immediate effect on the perceptions of pain, nausea, and relaxation when measured with a visual analog scale. 

Conclusion

The use of foot massage as a complementary method is recommended as a relatively simple nursing intervention for patients experiencing nausea or pain related to the cancer experience.


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