Massage therapy for children, adolescents, and young adults: clinical delivery and effectiveness in hematology and oncology Journal Article uri icon
  • BACKGROUND: Children, adolescents, and young adults with hematologic and/or oncologic conditions experience multiple, significant symptoms (e.g., pain, stress, and anxiety), which may be addressed by nonpharmacologic approaches such as massage therapy (MT). The purpose of this study was to describe the clinical delivery of MT provided by a certified pediatric massage therapist and assess effectiveness in two patient groups: those with sickle cell disease (SCD) or hematologic and/or oncologic conditions excluding SCD (HemOnc). METHODS: Investigators conducted a retrospective review of MT sessions provided to patients 0-39 years with hematologic and/or oncologic conditions at a large pediatric academic medical center. RESULTS: Between October 2019 and December 2021, 3015 MT sessions were provided to 243 patients (171 HemOnc; 72 SCD) and documented in the electronic health record. Patients (mean age: 12.21 ± 7.19 years) were generally White (49.4%) or Black/African American (43.2%), non-Hispanic (94.2%), and 52.3% female. Patients in the SCD group (vs. patients in the HemOnc group) reported significantly higher (p < .05) pretreatment pain (6.95 vs. 4.46), stress (6.47 vs. 4.58), and anxiety (6.67 vs. 4.59). All patients reported clinically and statistically significant (p < .001) mean reductions in pain (-2.25 ± 1.87), stress (-2.50 ± 1.73), and anxiety (-2.52 ± 1.69), with patients in the HemOnc group reporting greater mean pain change (-2.54 vs. -1.87) than patients in the SCD group. CONCLUSIONS: This study supports the clinical effectiveness of MT for addressing acute pain, stress, and anxiety among youth with hematologic and/or oncologic conditions. Future research is needed to identify optimal MT utilization.

  • Link to Article
    publication date
  • 2023
  • published in
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Cancer
  • Pain
  • Pediatrics
  • Stress
  • Additional Document Info
  • 70
  • issue
  • 4