Massage therapy significantly reduces pain, anxiety and muscular tension following cardiac surgery, while also improving relaxation, according to new research.

A total of 152 elective cardiac surgery patients were randomized to receive massage or rest time at two points after surgery, according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov.

“Nurses and physiotherapists observed patient improvements and helped facilitate delivery of the treatment by the massage therapists on the ward,” the abstract noted.

Among the results:

• Massage therapy produced a significantly greater reduction in pain, anxiety and muscular tension than did rest;

• Massage therapy produced increases in relaxation and satisfaction compared with rest;

• No significant differences were seen for heart rate, respiratory rate or blood pressure;

• Pain was significantly reduced after massage on day three or four and day five or six. The rest group experienced no significant change at either time.

“Massage therapy for cardiac surgery patients-a randomized trial” is published in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, published by Mosby.

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• Lavender Aromatherapy Improves Cardiac Patients’ Sleep

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