Massage therapy improves the quality of life at the end of life for cancer patients and may be associated with further beneficial effects, such as improvement in pain and sleep quality, according to the authors of a new study.

The results of “Massage Therapy for Patients with Metastatic Cancer: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial” were published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

The study objectives were to determine the feasibility and effects of providing therapeutic massage at home for patients with metastatic cancer, according to an abstract published on

There were three interventions: massage therapy, no-touch intervention and usual care.

The mean number of massage therapy sessions per patient was 2.8.

A significant improvement was found in the quality of life of the patients who received massage therapy after one-week follow-up, which was not observed in either the No Touch control or the Usual Care control groups, but the difference was not sustained at 1 month, according to the abstract. There were trends toward improvement in pain and sleep of the patients after therapeutic massage but not in patients in the control groups.