Researchers recently compared massage and music therapy to relieve the severity of labor pain. One hundred and one women who were hospitalized for vaginal delivery were recruited and randomly stratified into two groups of either massage (n = 51) or music (n = 50) therapies, according to a report published on

“Painkillers have previously been used for childbearing women, but nowadays, owing to some well-known limitations and serious side effects, nonpharmacologic methods such as massage and music therapies are being broadly recommended,” the report noted. “The present clinical trial was conducted to compare the effects of massage and music therapies on the severity of labor …”

Pain was measured using the visual analog scale and the two groups were compared in terms of pain severity before and after the interventions.

The results showed the women in the massage therapy group had a lower level of pain compared with those in the music therapy group (p = 0.009). A significant difference was observed between the two groups in terms of pain severity after intervention (p = 0.01), the report noted. Agonizing, or most severe, labor pain was significantly relieved after massage therapy (p = 0.001).

“Massage therapy was an effective method for reducing and relieving labor pain compared with music therapy and can be clinically recommended as an alternative, safe and affordable method of pain relief where using either pharmacological or nonpharmacological methods are optional,” the researchers, from Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran, noted.

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