In new research, massage therapy was shown to reduce anxiety in both children with cancer and their parents.

Outcome measures among the children included changes in relaxation, as measured by heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and salivary cortisol level. Changes in symptoms, including pain, nausea, anxiety and fatigue, also served as outcome measures. Among parents, anxiety and fatigue were evaluated. These measures were assessed just before and 15 to 20 minutes after each session of massage or quiet time.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota, Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, and was originally published in Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing (2008) 26: 16-28.

Previously MASSAGE Magazine reported that massage therapy reduced adult cancer patients’ pain and anxiety, and that massage lessened female breast-cancer patients’ depression, anxiety and anger, among other cancer-related research.

A full Research Report on the new study will run in the March print edition of MASSAGE Magazine.