Seated massage therapy, with or without stretching involved, reduced work-related discomfort, new research shows.

In this pilot study, a group of 45 full-time sonographers was randomly assigned to receive weekly 30-minute massage sessions, massages plus stretching exercises to be performed twice a day, or no intervention.

“Cardiac sonographers frequently have work-related muscular discomfort,” reads an abstract published on “We aimed to assess the feasibility of having sonographers receive massages during working hours in an area adjacent to an echocardiography laboratory and to assess relief of discomfort with use of the massages with or without stretching exercises.”

Forty-four participants completed the study: 15 in the control group, 14 in the massage group, and 15 in the massage-plus-stretches group. Some improvement was seen in work-related discomfort in the two intervention groups, the abstract noted. The separation test showed separation in favor of the two interventions.

“On the basis of the results of this pilot study, larger trials are warranted to evaluate the effect of massages with or without stretching on work-related discomfort in cardiac sonographers,” the researchers wrote.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic. “The effect of chair massage on muscular discomfort in cardiac sonographers: a pilot study” ran in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2010 Sep 16;10:50).

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