New research shows massage therapy may have immediate benefits on mood and pain among patients with advanced cancer. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and appears in the Sept. 16 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

“When patients near the end of life, the goals of medical care change from trying to cure disease to making the patient as comfortable as possible,” said Jean S. Kutner, M.D., associate professor of medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. “This study is important because it shows massage is a safe and effective way to provide immediate relief to patients with advanced cancer.”

Previous research showed that massage reduces cancer patients’ symptoms, including pain, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and depression; that massage and healing touch ease cancer symptoms; and that aromatherapy and massage improve sleep in advanced cancer patients.

In August MASSAGE Magazine reported on a new study from the American Cancer Society study that found high use of complementary methods, including massage, among cancer survivors.

A Research Report detailing the new NIH-funded study will run in the November issue of MASSAGE Magazine.