From the Blog

Field, T., Grizzle, N., Scafidi, F., & Schanberg, S. (1996). Massage and relaxation therapies’ effects on depressed adolescent mothers. Adolescence, 31, 903-911.

Thirty-two depressed adolescent mothers received ten 30-minute sessions of massage therapy or relaxation therapy over a five-week period. Subjects were randomly assigned to each group. Although both groups reported lower anxiety following their first and final sessions, although only the massage therapy group showed behavioral and stress hormone changes, including a decrease in anxious behavior, heartrate and cortisol levels.

Ironson, G., Field, T.M., Scafidi, F., Hashimoto, M., Kumar, M., Kumar, A., Price, A.,Goncalves, A., Burman, I. , Tetenman, C., Patarca, R. & Fletcher, M.A. (1996). Massage therapy is associated with enhancement of the immune system’s cytotoxiccapacity. International Journal of Neuroscience, 84, 205-217.

Twenty nine gay men with HIV received massage for 1 month. Major immune findings for the effects of the month of massage included an increase in Natural Killer Cell number. Major neuroendocrine findings included a decrease in cortisol. Anxiety also decreased and relaxation increased which were correlated with increased in NK cell numbers.

Sunshine, W., Field, T.M., Quintino, O., Fierro, K., Kuhn, C., Burman, I. &Schanberg, S. (1996). Fibromyalgia benefits from massage therapy andtranscutaneous electrical stimulation. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2, 18-22.

Adult fibromyalgia syndrome subjects were randomly assigned to a massage therapy, atranscutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS), or a transcutaneous electrical stimulation no-current group for 30-minute treatment sessions two times per week for 5 weeks. The massage therapy subjects reported lower anxiety and depression, and their cortisol levels were lower immediately after the therapy sessions on the first and last days of the study. The TENS group showed similar changes, but only after therapy on the last day of the study.

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.

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. The massaged mothers reported a decrease in depressed mood, anxiety and pain, and showed less agitated activity and anxiety and more positive affect following the first massage during labor. In addition the massaged mothers had shorter labors, a shorter hospital stay and less postpartum depression.

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

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. The effects of the therapies were assessed using a within-subjects pre-post test design and by comparisons across groups. The groups reported decreased anxiety, depression, fatigue, and confusion, as well as increased vigor following the session.

Field, T.M., Sunshine, W., Hernandez-Reif, M., Quintino, O., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C., & Burman, I. (1997). Massage therapy effects on depression and somatic symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 3, 43-51.

Twenty subjects with chronic fatigue immunodeficiency syndrome were randomly assigned either to a massage therapy or an attention control group. Although depression and anxiety scores were initially as high as clinically depressed patients, analyses of the before versus after therapy session measures on the first and last day of treatment revealed that immediately following massage therapy depression scores, pain, and cortisol levels decreased more in the massage versus control group.



Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Quintino, O., Schanberg, S. & Kuhn, C. (1998). Elder retired volunteers benefit from giving massage therapy to infants. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 17, 229-239.

Elderly retired volunteers give massage to infants and were compared with those receiving massage themselves. After the first and last day sessions of giving massages, the elderly retired volunteers had less anxiety and depression and lower stress hormones. Over the 3-week period, depression and stress neurotransmitters decreased and lifestyle and health improved.


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