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Massage & Depression

Abstract

Treatment Effects of Massage Therapy in Depressed People: A Meta-Analysis.


Objective

To systematically investigate the treatment effects of massage therapy in depressed people by incorporating data from recent studies.

Data Sources

A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of massage therapy in depressed people was conducted using published studies from PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL electronic database from inception until July 2008. The terms used for the search were derived from medical subheading term (MeSH) massage combined with MeSH depression. Hand searching was also checked for bibliographies of relevant articles. Retrieval articles were constrained to RCTs/clinical trials and human subjects. No language restrictions were imposed.

Study Selection

We included 17 studies containing 786 persons from 246 retrieved references. Trials with other intervention, combined therapy, and massage on infants or pregnant women were excluded.

Data Extraction

Two reviewers independently performed initial screen and assessed quality indicators by Jadad scale. Data were extracted on publication year, participant characteristics, and outcomes by another single reviewer.

Data Synthesis

All trials showed positive effect of massage therapy on depressed people. Seventeen RCTs were of moderate quality, with a mean quality score of 6.4 (SD = 0.85). The pooled standardized mean difference in fixed- and random-effects models were 0.76 (95% CI, 0.61-0.91) and 0.73 (95% CI, 0.52-0.93), respectively. Both indicated significant effectiveness in the treatment group compared with the control group. The variance between these studies revealed possible heterogeneity (tau(2) = 0.06, Cochran chi-squared(16) = 25.77, P = .06).

Conclusions

Massage therapy is significantly associated with alleviated depressive symptoms. However, standardized protocols of massage therapy, various depression rating scales, and target populations in further studies are suggested.


Authors: Hou WH1, Chiang PT, Hsu TY, Chiu SY, Yen YC.

Source: J Clin Psychiatry. 2010 Jul;71(7):894-901. doi: 10.4088/JCP.09r05009blu. Epub 2010 Mar 23.

Author Information: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, E-Da Hospital and College of Medicine, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

(c) Copyright 2010 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
PMID: 20361919 DOI: 10.4088/JCP.09r05009blu

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