Massage Research and Resources

Oncology Massage Research

Current growing research suggests that providing compassionate, comforting, skilled touch to people with cancer can reduce anxiety, fatigue, nausea, pain, and depression. There are some promising clinical trials, and research evidence is moving toward a larger body of research supporting these effects. Below is a list of research papers currently being discussed as being important in oncology massage therapy, and also massage therapy generally.

  • Alves, M., de Agrela Gonçalves Jardim, M.H. and Gomes, B.P. (2017) Effect of Massage Therapy in Cancer Patients. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8, 111-121. Conclusion: This systematic review of literature from 1990-2015 finds that some effects of massage therapy are confirmed; pain relief, improved well-being, decreased anxiety, depression, and nausea. More consistent methods are needed for studies to be more conclusive.
  • Collinge, W., MacDonald, G., and Walton, T. (2012). Massage in supportive cancer care. Seminars in Oncology Nursing, 28, 45-54. Conclusion: This systematic review suggests that massage “remains one of the most popular and comforting forms of supportive care in cancer” and ” There is now significant recognition of the potential contributions of massage in supportive care, as well as a greater understanding of the modifications needed in offering massage to cancer patients.
  • Corbin, L. (2005). Safety and efficacy of massage therapy for patients with cancer. Cancer Control: Journal of the Moffitt Cancer Center, 12, 158-164. Conclusion: This systematic review suggests that massage therapy can safely be used with people with cancer, but massage therapists need to be qualified to adapt massage. It also suggests that the strongest evidence supports improvement of stress and anxiety.
  • Lee, S.H., Kim, J. Y., Yeo, S., Kim, S.H., Lim, S. (2015). Meta-analysis of massage therapy on cancer pain. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 14, 297-304. Conclusion: This meta-analysis concludes that “massage therapy significantly reduced cancer pain compared with no massage treatment or conventional care” and “Massage is effective for the relief of cancer pain.”
  • Myers, C., Walton, T., and Small, B.(2008). The value of massage therapy in cancer care. Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America, 22, 649-660. Conclusion: Data supports the view that modified massage could benefit patients with anxiety, pain, and other symptoms. Larger studies with more rigorous design is needed.