Massage Reduces Distress Among Oncology Patients

A study was conducted to assess the impact of a Swedish massage intervention on oncology patients’ perceived level of distress. Each patient’s distress level was measured using 4 distinct dimensions: pain, physical discomfort, emotional discomfort, and fatigue. A total of 251 oncology patients volunteered to participate in this nonrandomized single-group pre- and post design study for over a 3-year period at a university hospital setting in southeastern Georgia.

The analysis found a statistically significant reduction in patient-reported distress for all 4 measures: pain, physical discomfort, emotional discomfort, and fatigue. This reduction in patient distress was observed regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or cancer type. These results lend support for the inclusion of a complementary massage therapy program for hospitalized oncology patients as a means of enhancing their course of treatment.


Currin, Jennifer LMSW, OSW-C; Meister, Edward Anton PhD. A Hospital-based Intervention Using Massage to Reduce Distress Among Oncology Patients. Cancer Nursing. 31(3):214-221, May/June 2008.