Massage-client expectations can have an impact on session outcomes, according to new research.

The research findings, which were reported in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, found that “client expectations were generally positive toward massage and their massage therapists,” according to an abstract on “Positive outcome expectations had a positive effect on clients’ changes in pain and serenity. High interpersonal expectations had a negative effect on clients’ changes in serenity.”

The researchers from the Department of Community and Behavioral Health, at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, set out to develop and validate the Client Expectations of Massage Scale (CEMS), a measure of clients’ clinical, educational, interpersonal, and outcome expectations, according to the abstract.

“Although there is evidence that client expectations influence client outcomes, a valid and reliable scale for measuring the range of client expectations for both massage therapy and the behaviors of their massage therapists does not exist,” the wrote. “Understanding how client expectations influence client outcomes would provide insight into how massage achieves its reported effects.”

Read the abstract here.