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Massage News - March 2013

Massage News - March 2013

Impact of massage therapy on the levels of distress in brain tumour patients

Massage Therapy for Decreasing Stress in Cancer Patients Research was published in British Medical Journal on Supportive and Palliative Care. The research indicates that massage therapy can have a positive influence on the quality of life of people suffering serious illnesses such as brain cancer. Patients with brain tumours report elevated levels of distress across the disease course. Massage therapy is a commonly used complementary therapy and is employed in cancer care to reduce psychological stress and to improve quality of life (QoL). A pilot study was conducted to obtain a preliminary assessment of the effect of massage therapy on patient-reported psychological outcomes and QoL. The study was a prospective, single-arm intervention. Participants were newly diagnosed primary brain tumour patients who reported experiencing distress and who received a total of eight massages over a period of 4 weeks. Participants completed the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's Distress Thermometer (DT) six times over a 5-week period.

The results showed that as a group, levels of distress dropped significantly between baseline and week 3, with a further significant reduction in distress between week 3 and week 4. At the end of week 4, the DT scores of all participants were below the threshold for being considered distressed. By the end of the intervention, participants reported significant improvements in one test domain focused on emotional well-being. Keir SM and Saling JR. Pilot study of the impact of massage therapy on sources and levels of distress in brain tumour patients. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. 2012; 2:363-36.

Stretching of the back improves gait, mechanical sensitivity and connective tissue inflammation in a rat model

Although manual and movement-based therapies utilizing tissue stretch have shown some therapeutic benefits in clinical trials of low back pain, the mechanisms of these treatments and their underlying pathological substrates are poorly understood. Researchers from University of Vermont, inclusing Dr. Helene Langevin recently investigated the mechanism of stretching the back in a Rat model.

The authors stated that the role played by nonspecialized connective tissues in chronic non-specific low back pain is not well understood. In a recent ultrasound study, human subjects with chronic low back pain had altered connective tissue structure compared to human subjects without low back pain, suggesting the presence of inflammation and/or fibrosis in the low back pain subjects. Meanwhile, mechanical input in the form of static tissue stretch has been shown in vitro and in vivo to have anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects. To better understand the pathophysiology of lumbar nonspecialized connective tissue as well as potential mechanisms underlying therapeutic effects of tissue stretch, the researchers used a rat model, where the rats were induced with inflammation in the low back. The results showed that induction of inflammation in the lumbar connective tissues resulted in altered gait, increased mechanical sensitivity of the tissues of the low back, and local macrophage infiltration. Stretching was then applied to the rats as in vivo tissue stretch for 10 minutes twice a day for 12 days. In vivo tissue stretch mitigated the inflammation-induced changes leading to restored stride length and intrastep distance, decreased mechanical sensitivity of the back and reduced macrophage expression in the nonspecialized connective tissues of the low back.

This study highlights the need for further investigation into the contribution of connective tissue to low back pain and the need for a better understanding of how interventions involving mechanical stretch could provide maximal therapeutic benefit. This tissue stretch research is relevant to body-based treatments such as yoga or massage, and to some stretch techniques used with physical therapy.

The effect of foot massage on long-term care staff working with older people with dementia

BACKGROUND: Caring for a person with dementia can be physically and emotionally demanding, with many long-term care facility staff experiencing increased levels of stress and burnout. Massage has been shown to be one way in which nurses' stress can be reduced. However, no research has been conducted to explore its effectiveness for care staff working with older people with dementia in long-term care facilities.

METHODS: This was a pilot, parallel group, randomized controlled trial aimed at exploring feasibility for a larger randomized controlled trial. Nineteen staff, providing direct care to residents with dementia and regularly working >= two day-shifts a week, from one long-term care facility in Queensland (Australia), were randomized into either a foot massage intervention (n=9) or a silent resting control (n=10). Each respective session lasted for 10-min, and participants could receive up to three sessions a week, during their allocated shift, over four-weeks. At pre- and post-intervention, participants were assessed on self-report outcome measures that rated mood state and experiences of working with people with dementia. Immediately before and after each intervention/control session, participants had their blood pressure and anxiety measured. An Intention To Treat framework was applied to the analyses. Individual qualitative interviews were also undertaken to explore participants' perceptions of the intervention.

RESULTS: The results indicate the feasibility of undertaking such a study in terms of: recruitment; the intervention; timing of intervention; and completion rates. A change in the intervention indicated the importance of a quiet, restful environment when undertaking a relaxation intervention. For the psychological measures, although there were trends indicating improvement in mood there was no significant difference between groups when comparing their pre- and post- scores. There were significant differences between groups for diastolic blood pressure (p= 0.04, partial eta2=0.22) and anxiety (p= 0.02, partial eta2=0.31), with the foot massage group experiencing greatest decreases immediately after the session. The qualitative interviews suggest the foot massage was well tolerated and although taking staff away from their work resulted in some participants feeling guilty about taking time out, a 10-min foot massage was feasible during a working shift.

CONCLUSIONS: This pilot trial provides data to support the feasibility of the study in terms of recruitment and consent, the intervention and completion rates. Although the outcome data should be treated with caution, the pilot demonstrated the foot massage intervention showed trends in improved mood, reduced anxiety and lower blood pressure in long-term care staff working with older people with dementia. A larger study is needed to build on these promising, but preliminary, findings. BMC Nurs. 2013 Feb 18;12(1):5. [Epub ahead of print] The effect of foot massage on long-term care staff working with older people with dementia: a pilot, parallel group, randomized controlled trial. Moyle W, Cooke M, O Dwyer ST, Murfield J, Johnston A, Sung B. Massage on Experimental Pain in Healthy Females

A randomized controlled study conducted by researchers form University of Mississippi Medical Center, evaluated the effect of massage on affect, relaxation, and experimental pain induced by electrical stimulation. The authors hypothesised that there are 3 mechanisms of massage in reducing pain: through the gate control theory (pain signals can be modified by competing tactile stimuli, such as touch and pressure (counter-pressure) from massage), relaxation (cognitive relaxation induces physiological relaxation and a reduction in pain), and affect (Massage reduces negative affect and increases positive affect).

Participants were 96 healthy women (M age = 20.13 ± 5.93 years; 84.4% White) randomly assigned to a 15-minute no-treatment control, guided imagery, massage or massage plus guided imagery condition. Guided imagery is a non-tactile cognitive relaxation intervention used to minimize response to acute and chronic pain, which has been shown to work relaxation process.

The statistical analysis revealed no group differences in pain intensity, threshold, or tolerance. The two massage conditions generally reported decreased pain unpleasantness, lower unpleasant affect, maintenance of pleasant affect, and increased relaxation compared to the no-treatment condition.

The results do not support the hypothesis that massages works by interrupting ascending pain messages. However the most likely mechanisms are: Massage works via increased relaxation (Massage was found to be superior to guided imagery) and Massage works via affective pathway (Massage superior to guided imagery in Reduced unpleasant and Maintenance of pleasant).

The results suggest that massage may alter immediate affective qualities in the context of pain. J Health Psychol. 2013 Jan 29. Massage on Experimental Pain in Healthy Females: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Karlson CW, Hamilton NA, Rapoff MA. See the detailed presentation here:

Vinotherapy: all the benefits of wine without the health risks?

There have been many different studies into the health benefits of wine. Governments have run programmes that have lasted for decades, examining the "outcomes" of large populations to see whether occasional tipplers live longer than abstainers or vice versa. Scientists have isolated chemicals found in red wine such as procyanidins and resveratrol, to establish whether they do have the benefits that have been claimed for them.

Now Trevor Baker, a reporter from The Guardian was in La Rioja in Spain, at the Frank Gehry-designed Marqués de Riscal "Vinothérapie" spa hotel, having the raw ingredients of wine, including whole grapes, kneaded gently into the muscles. Accoding to Trevor: I've never been to a spa before but who could resist the offer of a free session of a massage called "pulp friction"?

Vinotherapy, or "Vinothérapie" describes a beauty therapy process where the residue of wine making (the pips and pulp) are rubbed into the skin. The pulp is said to have excellent exfoliating qualities and help reduce the problems associated with ageing.

The concept of vinotherapy was expanded by Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas. The French couple learned about the impact of grape seeds from the leading expert on grape and grapevine polyphenols Dr. Vercauteren. In 1995, Mathilde and Bertrand launched a line of Vinothérapie skincare products made from grape derived ingredients: Caudalie. Vinotherapie makes use of the benefits from the grape and the vine extracts to provide effective skincare treatments, with anti-ageing action. Caudalíe was the first to stabilized and patent (Patent n° WO9429404) the extraction of Grape Seed Polyphenols (OPC), and use them in dermo-cosmetics. (From Wikipedia and the Guardian

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