Objectives: The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of massage on nausea, anxiety, and depression in patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy.
Design: This work was a single-center, prospective, randomized, controlled trial.
Settings/location: This study was conducted in an oncology clinic, in a hospital in southwestern Sweden.
Subjects: Thirty-nine (39) women (mean age = 51.8) with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy were enrolled.
Interventions: The patients were randomly assigned to a massage therapy group (20 minutes of massage on five occasions) or a control group (five 20-minute visits).
Outcome measures: All patients recorded nausea and anxiety on the Visual Analogue Scale before and after each intervention. They also completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
Results: Massage treatment significantly reduced nausea compared with control treatment (p = 0.025) when improvement was measured as a percentage of the five treatment periods. Differences in anxiety and depression between the two treatment regimes could not be statistically demonstrated.
Conclusions: This study complements previous studies on the effect of massage and supports the conclusion that massage reduces nausea in these patients.