Massage therapy in palliative care populations: a narrative review of literature from 2012 to 2022
Thirteen unique articles were identified through the PubMed database search and from a manual review of references. Study designs of included articles were one pilot, one quasiexperimental single-arm study, one mixed-methods study, two qualitative (both with hospital-based palliative care populations), seven randomized controlled trials, and one retrospective cohort analysis in a major Veterans Health Administration health care facility.
Cates C, Jordan K, Munk N, Farrand R, Kennedy AB, Groninger H. Massage therapy in palliative care populations: a narrative review of literature from 2012 to 2022. Ann Palliat Med. 2023 Aug 11:apm-23-126. doi: 10.21037/apm-23-126.
Palmer-funded Dosing Study with MHRI & MedStar Washington Hospital Center
MedStar Health Research Institute and MedStar Washington Hospital Center, in partnership with Healwell, were the recipients of a Palmer Foundation grant in early 2018, to study and compare effective dosages of massage therapy on pain and distress relief for 400 hospitalized palliative care patients. The study combines quantitative and qualitative data to show not only the clinical value of meaningfully integrated massage therapy, but also patient and clinician attitudes about the inclusion of massage therapy in mainstream care.
Kelemen, Anne et al. “"I Didn't Know Massages Could Do That:" A qualitative analysis of the perception of hospitalized patients receiving massage therapy from specially trained massage therapists.” Complementary therapies in medicine vol. 52 (2020): 102509. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2020.102509
Groninger, Hunter et al. “Massage Therapy for Hospitalized Patients Receiving Palliative Care: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” Journal of pain and symptom management, S0885-3924(23)00046-5. 31 Jan. 2023, doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2023.01.011
Struggle with reading the paper? Corey Rivera created this terrific infographic for "Massage Therapy for Hospitalized Patients Receiving Palliative Care: a randomized clinical trial" (published in The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management on January 30th, 2023).
Latham-funded Pilot Study with MHRI & MedStar Washington Hospital Center
MedStar Health Research Institute and MedStar Washington Hospital Center, in partnership with Healwell, received a grant from The Latham Foundation in 2017 to conduct a pilot study to assess feasibility of including massage therapy in the care offered to hospitalized palliative care patients as well as massage therapy’s effect on opioid use, pain and anxiety. 86 patients participated in the study, randomized between a quiet time control group and the massage therapy group.
You can see the poster here.
Children's National Medical Center
In June 2012, Healwell concluded an effort that spanned two years in a research partnership with an area hospital providing massage therapy to pediatric patients in an oncology massage feasibility study. Children’s National Medical Center engaged Healwell to provide massage therapy to pediatric oncology patients as part of their study, To Sleep, Perchance to Dream: a massage therapy trial in adolescents with cancer, to measure both the feasibility of offering massage to this population and the effect of massage therapy on sleep patterns in this population.
Dr. Shana Jacobs, the lead investigator on the study is currently working to secure funding for a multi-site replication.
The Impact of Hospital-Based Massage Therapy Training on Practitioners’ Self-Efficacy
More information coming soon!