A recent study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute confirms claims long held by professionals in the massage therapy field: that touch can truly have therapeutic benefits. Caregivers in the study learned touch and massage techniques through an instructional DVD and used the techniques on loved ones with cancer. Most surprising was the magnitude of the benefits, according to lead researcher William Collinge, Ph.D.

The study found significant reductions of the following symptoms when massage was performed by a family member:

  • stress and anxiety - 44% massage
  • pain - 34%
  • fatigue - 32%
  • depression - 31%
  • nausea - 29%
Also of significance is the length of a massage session, particularly for stage IV cancer patients. 78% of patients in the final stage of the disease reported stress relief after a massage of at least 13.75 minutes, compared to only 15% of those who received shorter sessions.

The takeaway? Touch is extremely important. Even loved ones residing in assisted living facilities or nursing homes can experience a significant reduction of symptoms and improvement in quality of life through massage.

Image Copyright Jon Haynes Photography on Flickr Creative Commons