After receiving Swedish massage, both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of women with prehypertension decreased significantly, and this noteworthy improvement in blood pressure was still evident three days after receiving massage, according to recent research.

The study, “Durability of Effect of Massage Therapy on Blood Pressure,” involved 50 women between the ages of 18 and 60 with prehypertension. In order to be included in the study, each woman had to have a blood pressure level of less than 140/90 and more than 120/80.

These subjects were randomly assigned to either the mas- sage group or control group. Women in the massage group received 10 to 15 minutes of Swedish massage three times a week for three-and-a-half weeks, for a total of 10 sessions. The Swedish massage consisted of superficial and deep strokes, using unscented lotion, on the face, neck, shoulders and upper chest, with the subject in supine position.

Women in the control group were instructed to lie down, close their eyes and breathe deeply in the same environment where the massages took place. These relaxation sessions also occurred for 10 to 15 minutes three times a week for three- and-a-half weeks.

The blood pressure of all subjects was measured before and after each massage or control session. To evaluate the durability of the intervention effect, blood pressure of all subjects was measured once again 72 hours after the three- and-a-half week study period.

Results of the research revealed the average systolic and diastolic blood pressure of women in the massage group was significantly lower during the 10-session study period. In addition, three days after the study period, there was still
a significant difference between the massage and control group in terms of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

“The results indicated that mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the massage group was significantly lower in comparison with the control group,” notes the study’s au- thor. “Evaluation of durability of the massage effects on blood pressure also indicated that 72 hours after finishing the study, still there was a significant difference between the test and control groups in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.”

The researcher recommends repeating the present study with both men and women, as well as those who have hypertension, rather than prehypertension, and taking a look at whether the effects of massage on blood pressure may extend beyond three days.

Author: Mahshid Givi.

Sources: Department of Adult Health Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran. Originally published in May 2013 in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4(5), 511-16.

This research report ran in the print edition of MASSAGE Magazine‘s November 2013 issue.

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