What does the Research say?

 

Summary of the Evidence - Key Points

Canberra-based OM4 Graduate Elizabeth Hall has recently prepared a summary of the evidence underpinning Massage Therapy for patinets with cancer.  What follows are the key poiints arising from her work:

  • Massage therapy for patients with cancer has been studied since the 1990s. While the medical evidence remains limited, the positive experiences reported by patients are compelling.

  • A range of observational, longitudinal and some single-blind controlled trials has found significant beneficial effects of massage on side effects of cancer and its treatment, including anxiety, depression, nausea, pain and fatigue, at least in the short-term.

  • Most studies to date are deemed to be low quality because of their methodology, small size and high risk of bias. This reduces the power of these studies in systematic reviews and limits the generalisability of their findings.

  • As a result, systematic reviews of massage therapy have had mixed findings. Most conclude that well-designed large trials with longer follow-up periods are needed to be able to draw firm conclusions about the efficacy and effectiveness of massage for people with cancer. 

  • Such conclusions are in contrast with the reported experiences and uptake of massage by cancer survivors, who use massage to relieve common side effects and improve quality of life and wellbeing.

  • Research is needed that attempts to better understand the scope of massage therapy and the influence of its holistic effects on various outcomes associated with cancer. Outcomes such as patient satisfaction are also important.

  • Very recent research includes well-designed randomised controlled trials and large observational studies which have had positive findings and are likely to increase the certainty of the evidence. 

  • Reflecting changes in clinical practice and consumer demand, there is an increasing research focus on integrative oncology (IO), where a number of complementary therapies including massage are offered as adjuncts to conventional treatment.

  • Interest in IO services is growing rapidly. Recent Australian research involving surveys of cancer services and cancer survivors indicates a high level of uptake of complementary therapies, especially massage, by patients undergoing cancer treatment, and a wide disparity between the IO services cancer survivors would like and what they are able to access through their local cancer service.

......

For more information on the evidence underpinning Oncology Massage, please see Articles of Interest or contact us.

Last Saved: 20/Sep/2019

 

Find a Therapist

Search

Enter your postcode in the box to find your nearest Therapist.


View All Oncology Massage Therapists

View All Oncology Beauty Therapists

Donate to OMT

Testimonials

More Testimonials »