Effects of a Full-Body Massage on Pain in Patients with Metastatic Bone Pain

Bone involvement, a hallmark of advanced cancer, results in intolerable pain, substantial morbidity, and impaired quality of life in 34%–45% of cancer patients. Despite the publication of 15 studies on massage therapy (MT) in cancer patients, little is known about the longitudinal effects of MT and safety in cancer patients with bone metastasis.

The purpose of this study was to describe the feasibility of MT and to examine the effects of MT on present pain intensity (PPI), anxiety, and physiological relaxation over a 16- to 18-hour period in 30 Taiwanese cancer patients with bone metastases.

A quasi-experimental, one-group, pretest-posttest design with repeated measures was used to examine the time effects of MT using single-item scales for pain (PPI-visual analog scale [VAS]) and anxiety (anxiety-VAS), the modified Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (MSF-MPQ), heart rate (HR), and mean arterial pressure (MAP).

MT was shown to have effective immediate [t(29)=16.5, P=0.000; t(29)=8.9, P=0.000], short-term (20–30 minutes) [t(29)=9.3, P=0.000; t(29)=10.1, P=0.000], intermediate (1–2.5 hours) [t(29)=7.9, P=0.000; t(29)=8.9, P=0.000], and long-term benefits (16–18 hours) [t(29)=4.0, P=0.000; t(29)=5.7, P=0.000] on PPI and anxiety. The most significant impact occurred 15 [F=11.5(1,29), P<0.002] or 20 [F=20.4(1,29), P<0.000] minutes after the intervention.

There were no significant time effects in decreasing or increasing HR and MAP. No patient reported any adverse effects as a result of MT. Clinically, the time effects of MT can assist health care providers in implementing MT along with pharmacological treatment, thereby enhancing cancer pain management. Randomized clinical trials are needed to validate the effectiveness of MT in this cancer population.

Effects of a Full-Body Massage on Pain Intensity, Anxiety, and Physiological Relaxation in Taiwanese Patients withMetastatic Bone Pain: A Pilot Study