The trauma of being burned can result in severe physical and psychological effects. New research shows massage therapy reduced burned adolescents’ pain, itching, and anxiety levels, according to a report published on

“Patients with burns commonly have severe itching and pain,” the authors noted. “Severe itching has also been associated with anxiety, sleep disturbance and disruption of daily living activities.”

Sixty-three adolescents were enrolled in this study shortly after admission to a burn unit in a large university hospital from February 2008 to June 2009. The measures including the pain, itching, and state anxiety were collected on the first and last days of the five-week study period. The participants had an average age of 14.07 +/- 1.78 years and came usually from the lower socioeconomic strata. The authors observed that massage therapy reduced all these measures from the first to the last day of this study.

“The addition of complementary treatments to standard care may lead to improved pain management and may offer a safer approach for reducing pain and procedural anxiety for patients with burns,” the authors wrote. “In most cultures, massage treatments are used to alleviate a wide range of symptoms. Although health professionals agree on the use of nonpharmacologic method for patients with burns, these applications are not yet common.”

The research is published in the May-June issue of the Journal of Burn Care & Research.

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