Massage & Bodywork

JULY | AUGUST 2015

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52 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j u l y / a u g u s t 2 0 1 5 SOMATIC RESEARCH education Massage Therapy for Cancer Symptoms By Jerrilyn Cambron According to the National Cancer Institute, the lifetime risk of developing cancer is approximately 43 percent in men and 38 percent in women. Pain is a common complaint with cancer patients due to the disease, the treatments, and the recovery, and it is experienced by 40–90 percent of cancer patients. One treatment that may improve the symptoms of cancer pain is massage therapy. A recent meta-analysis focused on massage therapy for cancer pain. 1 The authors searched nine research databases and included articles if they were randomized or nonrandomized clinical trials with any type of massage intervention group, as well as a control group for treatment of cancer-related pain. Studies including all types of cancer were allowed in this review. Once the articles were found, they were evaluated for methodological quality as "excellent," "good," "fair," or "poor." Twelve clinical trials met all of the inclusion criteria and were used to determine the overall effectiveness of massage for cancer pain. Massage techniques included body massage, foot reflexology, and aromatherapy massage with an average treatment time of 29.5 minutes (ranging from 10–50 minutes), an average of 4.5 treatment sessions (a range of 1–12 sessions), and an average treatment duration of 23.6 days (ranging from one day to 20 weeks). Within the 12 trials, there were a total of 559 subjects from the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Nine of the studies were high quality and three were low quality.

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