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A randomized trial of massage therapy after heart surgery.

Albert NM, Gillinov AM, Lytle BW, Feng J, Cwynar R, Blackstone EH.

Heart Lung. 2009 Nov-Dec;38(6):480-90.

 OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether massage therapy improves postoperative mood, pain, anxiety, and physiologic measurements; shortens hospital stay; and decreases occurrence of atrial fibrillation.

METHODS:

Two hundred fifty-two adults undergoing cardiac surgery were randomized to usual postoperative care (n=126) or usual care plus two massages (n=126). Assessments of mood, depression, anxiety, pain, physiologic status, cardiac rhythm, and hospital length of stay were completed. Logistic and linear regressions were performed.

RESULTS:

Preoperative pain, mood, and affective state scores were positively associated with postoperative scores; however, there were no postoperative differences between groups for any measures (P=.11 to .93). There were no differences in physiologic variables except lower postoperative blood pressure after massage (P = .01). Postoperative atrial fibrillation occurrence (P = .6) and median postoperative hospital length of stay (P = .4) were similar between groups.

CONCLUSION:

Massage therapy is feasible in cardiac surgical patients; however, it does not yield therapeutic benefit. Nevertheless, it should be a patient-selected and -paid option.

Other studies investigating effects of massage on emotion

Keywords: relaxation, mood, anxiety, depression

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