Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2018

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48 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 8 education SOMATIC RESEARCH Massage for Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Patients By Niki Munk, PhD I believe the hospital bedside is one of the most important and meaningful places for massage therapy integration. Whether as palliative, rehabilitative, or to support recovery after a procedure, massage therapy offers multiple potential benefits for nearly all patient populations. As massage therapy becomes more common and available in hospitals, so too has research examining massage integration into health-care settings and its outcomes. This research is creating the evidence base for massage professionals seeking a career with populations that might not otherwise access massage as part of their health care. Research examining massage therapy applied in surgical pain populations was recently highlighted as a third part to the large Massage Therapy Foundation- commissioned systematic review and meta-analysis from the Samueli Institute investigating massage's impact on function in pain populations. 1 Of the 16 studies included in the review, 14 (88 percent) examined massage therapy applied to surgery patients following the procedure. Several different surgery procedures were represented in the existent research; half were cardiac related, making cardiac surgery patients the most studied of massage for postsurgery populations. Also of note about the surgical pain populations included in the review is that all but one focus on adults. A single study examined massage for infants' distress after craniofacial surgery, but none examined massage for a broad, under-18 pediatric population. With approximately 450,000 people under 18 years old admitted for surgery in the United States per year, 2 the pediatric postsurgery population is "ripe" for research. Considering this and the high proportion of postsurgery massage research focused on cardiac procedures, the literature gap for postsurgery massage for pediatric cardiac patients seems pronounced. This literature gap is beginning to be addressed with new research in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. STUDY OVERVIEW AND RESULTS The article "The Impact of Massage and Reading on Children's Pain and Anxiety after Cardiovascular Surgery: A Pilot Study" examines the safety and feasibility of massage therapy for pediatric patients immediately after congenital heart surgery. 3 In addition, the massage intervention's results are compared to reading visits for postoperative pain and anxiety. The randomized controlled trial took place at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford and involved 60 pediatric patients 6–18 years old. Parents and patients were approached about study participation, enrolled, and randomized prior to surgery. Patients randomized to the massage therapy arm received massage 2–3 times per week during their postsurgery hospital stay, with a session and primary data collection occurring at three specific points: (1) within 24 hours postsurgery, (2) within 24 hours intensive to acute care unit transfer, and (3) within the final 48 hours of anticipated discharge. The reading study arm was meant to serve as a control for the attention patients would get from massage therapists and followed the same three-application/data- collection time points as the massage group. Massages were up to 30 minutes long and followed a procedural protocol consisting of intake, introductions, preparation, and positioning. The protocol allowed therapists to create a treatment strategy specific to the patient and situation using techniques modified for population appropriateness such as craniosacral, Swedish massage, reiki, healing touch, acupressure, shiatsu, or neuromuscular therapy. Massage therapists provided the treatments, were part of the hospital's massage therapy service, and had 6–22 years of inpatient massage experience. Massage therapists also

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