Sleep and Massage

  • Forty-six adults were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a standard treatment control group. Those assigned to the massage therapy group were massaged by a therapist once a week for a 4-week period. The massage therapy group versus the control group had less pain and greater grip strength after the first and last sessions, and their anxiety and depressed mood scores decreased more than the control group, as well as decreased sleep disturbances. (Field, T., Diego, M., Delgado, J., Garcia, D., Fink, C. G. Hand pain is reduced by massage therapy. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, March 2011.) Abstract
  • Twenty-four adult fibromyalgia patients were assigned randomly to a massage therapy or relaxation therapy group. They received 30-minute treatments twice weekly for 5 weeks. Both groups showed a decrease in anxiety and depressed mood immediately after the first and last therapy sessions. However, across the course of the study, only the massage therapy group reported an increase in the number of sleep hours and a decrease in their sleep movements. In addition, substance P levels decreased, and the patients’ physicians assigned lower disease and pain ratings and rated fewer tender points in the massage therapy group. (Field, T., Diego, M.,  Cullen, C., Hernandez-Reif, M.,  Sunshine, W., Douglas, S. Fibromyalgia Pain and Substance P Decrease and Sleep Improves After Massage Therapy. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, April 2002 – Volume 8 – Issue 2 – pp 72-76.) Abstract
  • A study on massage showed that the massage therapy group had lower depression and anxiety scores and lower cortisol levels than the control group. Long-term effects suggested that the massage therapy group had lower depression, emotional distress and somatic symptom scores, more hours of sleep and lower epinephrine and cortisol levels. (Field, T, Sunshine, W., Hernandez- Reif, M., Quintino, O., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C., & Burman, I. (1997). Chronic fatigue syndrome: massage therapy effects on depression and somatic symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 3, 43-51.) Abstract
  • Back massage is clinically effective for the promotion of sleep. (Culpepper-Richards, K., Effect of a Back Massage and Relaxation Intervention on Sleep in Critically Ill Patients. American Journal of Critical Care, 7(4): 288-299; Jul 1998.) Abstract