Many studies have shown that massage reduces stress and effects relaxation in various client populations. New research shows that massage reduces stress and improves quality of life in brain-tumor patients.

For the new study, researchers from North Carolina’s Duke University Medical Center set out to determine if massage therapy ameliorated the stress levels and raised quality-of-life levels for people living with brain tumor.

“Patients with brain tumors report experiencing elevated levels of stress across the disease continuum,” the researchers noted, in an abstract published on “Massage therapy is a commonly used complementary therapy and is employed in cancer care to reduce psychological stress and to improve quality of life.”

The design of the study was a prospective, single-arm intervention. Participants were newly diagnosed primary brain tumor patients who reported experiencing stress and who received a total of eight massages over a period of four weeks, the pubmed report noted. Participants self-reported on levels of stress and quality of life.

The results showed that as a group, levels of stress dropped significantly between weeks two and three and continued through week four. At the end of week four, stress scores of all participants were below the threshold for being considered stressed. By the end of the intervention, participants reported significant improvements in three test domains: emotional well-being, additional brain tumor concerns and social-family well-being.

“This study indicates that participation in a massage-therapy program is both feasible and acceptable to newly diagnosed brain-tumor patients experiencing stress,” the researchers noted. “Furthermore, participants in this study reported improvements in stress and their [quality of life] while receiving massage therapy.”

The research was published in the Nov. 3 issue of Supportive Care in Cancer.

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