Paul Manley Clinic London Massage Research

Hospice patients

Meek, S. S. (1993).Effects of slow stroke back massage on relaxation in hospice clients. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 25, 17-21.

METHODS: Slow stroke back massage was provided for 30 hospice patients.

RESULTS: The massage was associated with decreases in systolic BP, diastolic BP, and heart rate and with an increase in skin temperature.


Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, H., Hossain, Z., & Burman, I. (2000). High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 4, 31-38.

METHODS: High blood pressure is associated with elevated anxiety, stress and stress hormones, hostility, depression and catecholamines. Massage therapy and progressive muscle relaxation were evaluated as treatments for reducing blood pressure and associated symptoms. Adults who had been diagnosed as hypertensive received ten 30-minute massage sessions over five weeks or they were given progressive muscle relaxation instructions (control group).

RESULTS: Sitting diastolic blood pressure decreased after the first and last massage therapy sessions and reclining diastolic blood pressure decreased from the first to the last day of the study. Although both groups reported less anxiety, only the massage therapy group reported less depression and hostility and showed decreased urinary and salivary hormone levels (cortisol). Massage therapy may be effective in reducing diastolic blood pressure and symptoms associated with hypertension.


Scholtz, K., & Samuels, C. A. (1992). Neonatal bathing and massage intervention with fathers: Behavioral effects 12 weeks after birth of the first baby. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 15, 67-81.

METHODS: Australian families with first-born babies were studied for effects of a 4-week-postpartum training program (demonstration of baby massage and the Burleigh Relaxation Bath technique), with emphasis on the father-infant relationship. 16 families were assigned to the treatment group and 16 served as controls.

RESULTS: At the 12-week home observation, the treatment group infants greeted their fathers with more eye contact, smiling, vocalizing, reaching, and orienting responses and showed less avoidance behaviors. During a 10-min observation, the treatment group fathers showed greater involvement with their infants.

Field, T., Grizzle, N., Scafidi, F., Abrams, S., & Richardson, S. (1996). Massage therapy for infants of depressed mothers. Infant Behavior and Development 19, 109-114.

METHODS: Forty full-term 1- to 3-month-old infants born to depressed adolescent mothers who were low socieconomic status (SES) and single parents were given 15 minutes of either massage or rocking for 2 days per week for a 6-week period.

RESULTS: The infants who experienced massage therapy compared to infants in the rocking control group spent more time in active alert and active awake states, cried less, and had lower salivary cortisol levels, suggesting lower stress. After the massage versus the rocking sessions, the infants spent less time in an active awake state, suggesting that massage may be more effective than rocking for inducing sleep. Over the 6-week period, the massage-therapy infants gained more weight, showed greater improvement on emotionality, sociability, and soothability temperament dimensions and had greater decreases in urinary stress catecholamines/hormones (norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisol).

Scafidi, F. and Field, T. (1996). Massage therapy improves behavior in neonates born to HIV-positive mothers. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 21, 889-897.

METHODS: 28 neonates born to HIV-positive mothers were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or control group. The treatment infants were given three 15-minute massages daily for 10 days.

RESULTS: The massaged group showed superior performance on almost every Brazelton newborn cluster score and had a greater daily weight gain at the end of the treatment period, unlike the control group who showed declining performance.

Cullen, C., Field, T., Escalona, A. & Hartshorn, K. (2000). Father-infant interactions are enhanced by massage therapy. Early Child Development and Care, 164, 41-47.

METHODS: Fathers gave their infants daily massages 15 minutes prior to bedtime for one month.

RESULTS: By the end of the study, the fathers who massaged their infants were more expressive and showed more enjoyment and more warmth during interactions with their infants.

Huhtala, V., Lehtonen, L., Heinonen, R., & Korvenranta, H. (2000). Infant massage compared with crib vibrator in the treatment of colicky infants. Pediatrics, 105, E84.

METHODS: This study evaluated the effectiveness of infant massage as compared to a crib vibrator in the treatment of infantile colic. Infants <7 weeks of age and perceived as colicky by their parents were randomly assigned to an infant massage group (n = 28) or a crib vibrator group (n = 30). Three daily intervention periods were recommended in both groups. Parents recorded infant crying and interventions given in a structured cry diary that was kept for 1 week before (baseline) and for 3 weeks during the intervention.

RESULTS: Over the 4-week study, the amount of total and colicky crying decreased significantly in both intervention groups. Ninety-three percent of the parents in both groups reported that colic symptoms decreased over the 3-week intervention.

Field, T. & Hernandez-Reif, M. (2001). Sleep problems in infants decrease following massage therapy. Early Child Development and Care, 168, 95-104.

METHODS: Infants and toddlers (mean age=1.5 years) with sleep onset problems were given daily massages by their parents for 15 minutes prior to bedtime for 1 month.

RESULTS: Based on parent diaries, the massaged versus the control children (who were read bedtime stories) showed fewer sleep problems and had a shorter latency to sleep onset by the end of the study. Forty-five minute behavior observations by an independent observer also revealed more time awake, alert and active and more positive affect in the massaged children by the end of the study.

Ferber, S.G., Laudon, M., Kuint, J., Weller, A., & Zisapel, N. (2002). Massage therapy by mothers enhances the adjustment of circadian rhythms to the nocturnal period in full-term infants. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 23, 410-415.

METHODS: This study investigated the effect of massage therapy on phase adjustment of rest-activity and melatonin secretion rhythms to the nocturnal period in full-term infants. Rest-activity of infants was measured by actigraphy before and after 14 days of massage therapy (starting at approximately age 10 days) and subsequently at 6 and 8 weeks of age. Melatonin was assessed in urine samples at 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age.

RESULTS: At 8 weeks the controls revealed 1 peak of activity at approximately 12 midnight and another one at approximately 12 noon, whereas in the treated group, a major peak was early in the morning and a secondary peak in the late afternoon. At 12 weeks, nocturnal melatonin excretions were significantly higher in the treated infants. Thus, massage therapy by mothers in the perinatal period serves as a strong time cue, enhancing coordination of the developing circadian system with environmental cues.

Kim, T.I., Shin, Y.H., & White-Traut, R.C. (2003). Multisensory intervention improves physical growth and illness rates in Korean orphaned newborn infants. Res Nurs Health, 26, 424-433.

METHODS: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a multisensory intervention on the physical growth and health of Korean orphaned infants. Fifty-eight full-term infants were randomly assigned to a control or an experimental group within 14 days postbirth. In addition to receiving the routine orphanage care, infants in the experimental group received 15 min of auditory (female voice), tactile (massage), and visual (eye-to-eye contact) stimulation twice a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks.

RESULTS: Compared to the control group, the experimental group gained significantly more weight and had larger increases in length and head circumference after the 4-week intervention period and at 6 months of age. In addition, the experimental group had significantly fewer illnesses and clinic visits.

Infants Massage Review Papers

Uvnas-Moberg, K., Widstrom, A. M., Marchini, G., and Winberg, J. (1987). Release of GI hormones in mother and infant by sensory stimulation. Acta Paediatrica Scandinavia, 76, 851-860.

REVIEW:Sensory stimulation is of great importance for the growth and the physiological and psychological development of infants. Supplementary sensory stimulation such as non-nutritive sucking and tactile stimulation has been shown to increase the growth rate and the maturation of premature infants. In human neonates non-nutritive sucking has a vagally mediated influence on the levels of some gastrointestinal hormones. In animal experiments afferent electrical stimulation of the sciatic nerve at low intensity leads to an activation of the vagal nerve and to a consequent release of vagally controlled gastrointestinal hormones such as gastrin and cholecystokinin. We therefore assume that both non-nutritive sucking and tactile stimulation trigger the activity of sensory nerves which leads to a release of vagally regulated gut hormones. Since gut hormones stimulate gastrointestinal motor and secretory activity and the growth of the gastrointestinal tract, and enhance the glucose-induced insulin release, they may contribute to the beneficial effects on maturation and growth caused by sensory stimulation. In the breast-feeding situation, the sucking of the child elicits similar reflexes in the mother leading to an activation of the maternal gut endocrine system and a consequent increase in energy uptake.

Field, T. (1995). Massage therapy for infants and children. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 16, 105-111.

Data are reviewed on the effects of massage therapy on infants and children with various medical conditions. The infants include: premature infants, cocaine-exposed infants, HIV-exposed infants, infants parented by depressed mothers, and full-term infants without medical problems. The childhood conditions include: abuse (sexual and physical), asthma, autism, burns, cancer, developmental delays, dermatitis, diabetes, eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia), juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, posttraumatic stress disorder, and psychiatric problems. Generally, the massage therapy has resulted in lower anxiety and stress hormones and improved clinical course. Having grandparent volunteers and parents give the therapy enhances their own wellness and provides a cost-effective treatment for the children.

Field, T. (2000). Infant massage therapy (Review). In Zeanah, Charles H. Jr. (Ed), Handbook of infant mental health (2nd ed.). (pp. 494-500). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.

REVIEW: The author describes infant massage as a therapeutic intervention. She points to its worldwide popularity and to a small but growing body of literature suggesting its efficacy. Her review makes clear that it provides ample opportunities for infant-caregiver change. This approach may be a primary intervention in some settings and a useful adjunct in others.

Shor-Posner, G., Hernandez-Reif, M., Miguez, M. Fletcher, M., Quintero, N., Baez, J., Perez-Then, E. Soto, S., Mendoza, R., Castillo, R. & Zhang, G. (2006). Impact of a massage therapy clinical trial on immune status in young Dominican children infected with HIV-1. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 12, 511-516.

METHODS: Dominican HIV+ children without current access to antiretroviral therapies were randomized to receive either massage or a control/friendly visit twice weekly for 12 weeks. Blood was drawn at baseline and following the 3-month intervention for determinations of the HIV disease markers CD4 and CD8 cell counts.

RESULTS: Despite similar immune parameters at baseline in the two groups, significantly more of the control group exhibited a decline in CD4 cell count postintervention. The decrease was particularly evident in older (5-8 years) children in the control group, who demonstrated a significant reduction in both CD4 and CD8 cell counts compared to massage-treated older children who remained stable or showed immune improvement. Additionally, a significant increase in CD4 cells was observed over the 12-week trial in the massage-treated older children but not in the control group. In younger massage-treated children, (2-4 years old), a significant increase in natural killer cells was shown.


Crane, J.D., Ogborn, D.I., Cupido. C., Melov, S., Hubbard, A., Bourgeois, J.M., & Tarnopolsky, M.A. (2012). Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Science Translational Medicine, 1;4(119), 119ra13.

METHODS: Massage therapy was given to young male participants after exercise-induced muscle damage.

RESULTS: Massage attenuated the production of the inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), thereby mitigating cellular stress resulting from myofibre injury.

Job Stress

Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T., Goncalves, A., Burman, I., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197-205.

METHODS: Twenty-six adults were given a chair massage and 24 control group adults were asked to relax in the massage chair for 15 minutes, two times per week for five weeks. On the first and last days of the study they were monitored for EEG before, during and after the sessions. In addition, before and after the sessions they performed math computations, they completed POMS Depression and State Anxiety Scales and they provided a saliva sample for cortisol. At the beginning of the sessions they completed Life Events, Job Stress and Chronic POMS Depression Scales.

RESULTS: Analyses revealed the following: 1) frontal delta power increased for both groups, suggesting relaxation; 2) the massage group showed decreased frontal alpha and beta power (suggesting enhanced alertness), while the control group showed increased alpha and beta power; 3) the massage group showed increased speed and accuracy on math computations while the control group did not change; 4) anxiety levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions, although mood state was less depressed following both the massage and control sessions; 5) salivary cortisol levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions but only on the first day; and 6) at the end of the 5 week period depression scores were lower for both groups but the job stress score was lower only for the massage group.

Cady, S. H., & Jones, G. E. (1997). Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for reduction of stress. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 84, 157-158.

METHODS: The effectiveness of a 15-min. on-site massage while seated in a chair was evaluated for reducing stress as indicated by blood pressure. 52 employed participants' blood pressures were measured before and after a 15-min. massage at work.

RESULTS: Analyses showed a significant reduction in participants' systolic and diastolic blood pressure after receiving the massage.

Field, T., Quintino, O., Henteleff, T., Wells-Keife, L., & Delvecchio-Feinberg, G. (1997). Job stress reduction therapies. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 3, 54-56.

METHODS: The immediate effects of brief massage therapy, music relaxation with visual imagery, muscle relaxation, and social support group sessions were assessed in 100 hospital employees at a major public hospital.

RESULTS: Each of the groups reported decreases in anxiety, depression, fatigue, and confusion, as well as increased vigor following the sessions. That the groups did not differ on these variables suggests that these particular therapies, when applied for short periods of time, are equally effective for reducing stress among hospital employees.

Katz, J., Wowk, A., Culp, D., & Wakeling, H. (1999). Pain and tension are reduced among hospital nurses after on-site massage treatments: a pilot study. Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing, 14, 128-133.

METHODS: The aims of this pilot study were (1) to evaluate the feasibility of carrying out a series of eight 15-minute workplace-based massage treatments, and (2) to determine whether massage therapy reduced pain and stress experienced by nursing staff at a large teaching hospital. Twelve hospital staff (10 registered nurses and 2 nonmedical ward staff) working in a large tertiary care center volunteered to participate. Participants received up to eight, workplace-based, 15-minute Swedish massage treatments provided by registered massage therapists. Pain, tension, relaxation, and the Profile of Mood States were measured before and after each massage session.

RESULTS: Pain intensity and tension levels were significantly lower after massage. In addition, relaxation levels and overall mood state improved significantly after treatments.

Labor Pain

Mortazavi, S.H., Khaki, S., Moradi, R., Heidari, K., & Vasegh Rahimparvar, S.F. (2012). Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 286, 19-23.

METHODS: Pregnant women were divided into massage, attendant and control groups. The massage group received firm and rhythmic massage during labor in three phases. After 30 min massage at each stage, pain, anxiety, and satisfaction levels were evaluated.

RESULTS: Massage group had lower pain state in second and third phases in comparison with attendant group. The massage group had lower pain and anxiety state in three phases in comparison with control group. Duration of active phase was lower in massage group.

Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Taylor, S., Quintino, O., & Burman, I. (1997). Labor pain is reduced by massage therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 18, 286-291.

METHODS: Twenty-eight women were recruited from prenatal classes and randomly assigned to receive massage in addition to coaching in breathing from their partners during labor, or to receive coaching in breathing alone (a technique learned during prenatal classes).

RESULTS: The massaged mothers reported a decrease in depressed mood, anxiety and more positive affect following the first massage during labor. In addition, the massaged mothers had significantly shorter labor, a shorter hospital stay and less postpartum depression.

Chang, M.Y., Wang, S.Y., & Chen, C.H. (2002). Effects of massage on pain and anxiety during labor: a randomized controlled trial in Taiwan. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 38, 68-73.

METHODS: Sixty primiparous women expected to have a normal childbirth in Taiwan were randomly assigned to either the experimental or the control group. The experimental group received massage whereas the control group did not.

RESULTS: In both groups, there was a relatively steady increase in pain intensity and anxiety level as labor progressed. The experimental group had significantly lower pain reactions and reported that massage was helpful, providing pain relief and psychological support during labour.

Chung, U.L., Hung, L.C., Kuo, S.C., & Huang, C.L. (2003). Effects of LI4 and BL 67 acupressure on labor pain and uterine contractions in the first stage of labor. The Journal of Nursing Research, 11, 251-260.

METHODS: 127 parturient women were randomly assigned to three groups. Each group received one of the following treatments, LI4 and BL67 acupressure, light skin stroking, or no treatment/conversation only. Data collected from the VAS and external fetal monitoring strips were used for analysis.

RESULTS: Results of the study confirmed the effect of LI4 and BL67 acupressure in lessening labor pain during the active phase of the first stage of labor. There were no verified effects on uterine contractions.


Field, T., Cullen, C., Diego, M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Sprinz, P., Beebe, K., Kissel, B., & Bango-Sanchez, V. (2001). Leukemia immune changes following massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 5, 271-274.

METHODS: Twenty children with leukemia were provided with daily massage therapy by their parents and were compared to a standard treatment control group.

RESULTS: Following a month of massage therapy, depressed mood decreased in the children's parents, and the children's white blood cell and neutrophil counts decreased.


Lawler, S. & Cameron, L. (2006). A randomized, controlled trial of massage therapy as a treatment for migraine. Annual Behavior and Medicine, 32, 50-59.

METHODS: Migraine sufferers (N = 47) who were randomly assigned to massage or control conditions completed daily assessments of migraine experiences and sleep patterns for 13 weeks. Massage participants attended weekly massage sessions during Weeks 5 to 10. State anxiety, heart rates, and salivary cortisol were assessed before and after the sessions. Perceived stress and coping efficacy were assessed at Weeks 4, 10, and 13.

RESULTS: Compared to control participants, massage participants exhibited greater improvements in migraine frequency and sleep quality during the intervention weeks and the 3 follow-up weeks. Trends for beneficial effects of massage therapy on perceived stress and coping efficacy were observed. During the sessions, massage induced decreases in state anxiety, heart rate, and cortisol.

Multiple Sclerosis

Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., & Theakston, H. (1998). Multiple sclerosis patients benefit from massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 2, 168-174.

METHODS: Twenty-four adults with multiple sclerosis were randomly assigned to a standard medical treatment control group or a massage therapy group that received 45-minute massages twice a week for 5 weeks.

RESULTS: The massage group had lower anxiety and less depressed mood immediately following the massage sessions, and by the end of the study they had improved self-esteem, better body image and image of disease progression, and enhanced social functioning.

Siev-Ner, I., Gamus, D., Lerner-Geva, L., & Achiron, A. (2003). Reflexology treatment relieves symptoms of multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled study. Multiple Sclerosis, 9, 356-361.

METHODS: Seventy-one MS patients were randomized to either a study or control group, to receive an 11-week treatment. Reflexology treatment included manual pressure on specific points in the feet and massage of the calf area. The control group received nonspecific massage of the calf area.

RESULTS: Significant improvement in paresthesias, urinary symptoms and spasticity was detected in the reflexology group. Improvement with borderline significance was observed in muscle strength between the reflexology group and the controls. The improvement in the intensity of paresthesias remained significant at three months of follow-up.

Muscle Stiffness

Donoyama, N., Munakata, T., &Shibasaki, M. (2010). Effects of Anma therapy (traditional Japanese massage) on body and mind. Journal of Bodywork and Movement, 14, 55-64.

METHODS Females with chronic muscle stiffness in the neck and shoulder received 40-min Anma therapy and 40-min rest.

RESULTS: Anma therapy reduced muscle stiffness in the neck and shoulder and anxiety levels


Ming, J.L., Kuo, B.I., Lin, J.G., & Lin, L.C. (2002). The efficacy of acupressure to prevent nausea and vomiting in post-operative patients. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 39, 343-351.

METHODS: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of stimulating two acupressure points on prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting. The Rhodes Index of Nausea, Vomiting and Retching questionnaire was used as a tool to measure incidence. To control the motion sickness variable, the subjects who underwent functional endoscopic sinus surgery under general anaesthesia were randomly assigned to a finger-pressing group, a wrist-band group, and a control group. The acupoints and treatment times were similar in the finger-pressing group and wrist-band pressing group, whereas only conversation was employed in the control group.

RESULTS: Significant differences in the incidence of the post-operative nausea and vomiting were found between the acupressure, wrist-band, and control groups, with a reduction in the incidence rate of nausea from 73% to 43% and vomiting incidence rate from 90% to 43% in the acupressure group.