New research indicates massage therapy has a role to play in palliative care.

The aim of the study was to demonstrate how people with incurable cancer experienced soft massage (as opposed to firm-pressure or deep-tissue massage) in a palliative care setting in which massage was used as an established and integrated part of the nursing care.

The study was based on interviews with eight patients in an advanced-home-care setting who had all received soft massage as part of their daily care, according to a report on

Soft massage was experienced by the informants as a way to find inner peace. During the massage the patients felt dignified, while memories from past massage sessions were about becoming free. These experiences of dignity and freedom brought hope for the future.

The conclusion is that soft massage ought to be offered in the ordinary palliative care. More research is needed to understand what is needed to integrate and establish methods such as soft massage in the palliative care, the researchers noted.

The research was published in the International Journal of Palliative Nursing.