Body image is our perception of and beliefs about our own body's appearance. This conscious sense of our body is often taken for granted, but can be disrupted in many pain related condition. A preliminary study conducted by scientists from Bridgewater State University, MA, USA looked at the effect of massage on state body image.
Evidence suggests positive effects of massage on psychological health; however, little is known about the effects of massage on body image. This research examined the effect of massage on state body image as well as relations between trait body image and attitudes toward massage. Forty-nine female university students were randomly assigned to either a massage condition or a control condition. It was hypothesized that participants in the massage condition would report improved state body image following the intervention when compared to participants in the control condition.
As predicted, participants in the massage condition reported a more favourable state body image than participants in the control condition post-manipulation. Certain body image evaluations were moderately associated with views that massage is pleasurable, with the link between Body Areas Satisfaction and viewing massage as pleasurable reaching significance. Research is needed to determine the mechanism/s through which massage improves body image.
The prevalence of leg pain among women with endometriosis
A pilot study of the prevalence of leg pain among women with endometriosis was recently reported by authors from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States. The study was reported in Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies July 2011.
Radiating leg pain is a common symptom presenting in manual therapy practices. Although this symptom has been reported as a complication of endometriosis, its prevalence and characteristics have not been studied. The authors surveyed members of a national endometriosis support group with endometriosis using a self-administered, mailed questionnaire. The main outcome measures were the prevalence and characteristics of leg pain.
Of 94 respondents, leg pain was reported by 48 women (51%), and was bilateral in 59% of these symptomatic women. The likelihood of experiencing leg pain was related to weight gain since age 18, age, and height. The most common treatments tried included exercise, over-the-counter medications, and massage therapy, all with variable results. These data support leg pain as a prevalent complication of endometriosis, and that the disease may affect multiple peripheral nerves. The authors suggested that nanual therapists should remain aware to this possible etiology for radiating pain.
The effect of massage on pain management for thoracic surgery patients
Integrative therapies such as massage have gained support as interventions that improve the overall patient experience during hospitalization. Thoracic surgery patients undergo long procedures and commonly have postoperative back, neck, and shoulder pain.
A study published in the June issue of International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork looked at the effectiveness and feasibility of massage therapy delivered in the postoperative thoracic surgery setting.
The study was with patients who received massage in the postoperative setting had pain scores evaluated pre and post massage on a rating scale of 0 to 10 (0 = no pain, 10 = worst possible pain).
In total, 160 patients completed the pilot study and received massage therapy that was individualized. Patients receiving massage therapy had significantly decreased pain scores after massage, and patients' comments were very favourable. Patients and staff were highly satisfied with having massage therapy available, and no major barriers to implementing massage therapy were identified.
The authors concluded that massage therapy may be an important additional pain management component of the healing experience for patients after thoracic surgery.
Effects of massage on pain in patients with metastatic bone pain
A study from Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan published in the Journal Pain July 2011 Jul 28 conducted a randomized clinical trial to study the effects of massage on pain, mood status, relaxation, and sleep in patients with metastatic bone pain.
Patients with metastatic cancers, such as bone metastases, are more likely to report pain, compared to patients without metastatic cancer (50-74% and 15%, respectively). Their cancer pain results in substantial morbidity and disrupted quality of life in 34-45% of cancer patients. Massage therapy appears to have positive effects in patients with cancer; however, the benefits of MT, specifically in patients with metastatic bone pain, remains unknown. The purpose of this randomized clinical trial was to compare the efficacy of MT to a social attention control condition on pain intensity, mood status, muscle relaxation, and sleep quality in a sample (n=72) of Taiwanese cancer patients with bone metastases.
In the study, massage was shown to have beneficial within- or between-subjects effects on pain, mood, muscle relaxation, and sleep quality. Results also demonstrated that massage resulted in a linear trend of improvements in mood and relaxation over time. More importantly, the reduction in pain with massage was both statistically and clinically significant, and the massage-related effects on relaxation were sustained for at least 16-18hours postintervention. Furthermore, massage-related effects on sleep were associated with within-subjects effects.
Future studies are suggested with increased sample sizes, a longer interventional period duration, and an objective and sensitive measure of sleep. Overall, results from this study support employing MT as an adjuvant to other therapies in improving bone pain management.
Effects of infant massage on HIV-infected mothers and their infants
A study from Arizona State University was conducted to determine the feasibility of implementing an infant massage intervention and to evaluate the preliminary effects of infant massage on HIV-infected mothers and their infants. The study was published in the July issue of J Spec Pediatr Nurs.
In the study, two-group, randomized controlled pilot study, intervention group mothers were taught to perform infant massage daily for 10 weeks. The results showed that Infant massage training had a positive impact on maternal depression, parental distress, and infant growth along with facilitating more optimal parent-child interactions.
The authors concluded that infant massage, a quick, easy, and inexpensive intervention, is feasible in a clinic setting and may benefit human immunodeficiency virus-infected mothers and their infants.
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