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Massage Today
October, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 10

Children with Cancer and Blood Diseases Benefit from Massage

In a recent study in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (IJTMB), researchers Jolie N. Haun, John Graham-Pole, and Brendan Shortley conclude that the use of massage therapy provides significant improvement both physically and psychologically in children with cancer and blood diseases.

The following abstract was excerpted from the IJTMB, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2009).

Background: Previous research has reported positive effects of massage therapy (MT) on premature infants, children with asthma, arthritis and other illnesses. Although significant effects have been demonstrated with the use of MT with children, research regarding children with cancer and blood disease is needed. Purpose: This study measured the physical and psychological effects of MT on pediatric oncology and hematology patients. The study hypotheses tested the effects of MT for physical and psychological symptom relief. Research Design: Randomized non-blinded prospective study. Measures of physical health and mental wellbeing were completed before, during, and after four sessions were implemented. Participants: Thirty children with cancer and blood disease, ages 6 months to 17 years old. Intervention: Treatment group received 20-minute sessions of Swedish MT once a day for approximately 4 days (inpatient) or once a week for approximately 4 weeks (outpatient) vs. no MT for the control group.

Results confirmed the treatment group showed significant improvement both physically and psychologically.

Read the full article "Children with Cancer and Blood Diseases Experience Positive Physical and Psychological Effects from Massage Therapy" at


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