RESEARCH ROUND-UP: Foot-and-hand massage eases post-operative pain
In a study conducted by staff at Clarion Health Partners Methodist Hospital and Indiana University School of Nursing, in Indianapolis, Indiana, has shown that a 20-minute foot-and-hand massage significantly reduced subjects’ perception of pain intensity and distress the day after surgery. It also indicated lowered heart and respiratory rates.
Eighteen subjects aged 20 who had undergone surgery and were recovering from gastrointestinal, gynaecological, urological, head, neck or plastic surgery, participated in the study. Each had received pain medication one-to-four hours prior to the massage intervention and had asked for an intervention to relieve their pain the day after surgery. All subjects reported that the surgical wound was the area that hurt most.
Each participant received a 20-minute hand-and-foot massage by the same person. The massage consisted of petrissage, friction and kneading for five minutes on each hand and each foot.
Before and after each treatment pain intensity and distress scores, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure were measured. Subjects were also asked to rate the percentage of pain relief from the pain medication before the massage and the percentage of pain relief from the massage following the intervention.
Perceived pain intensity was measured using a scale that ranged from 0 (no pain) to 10 (pain as bad as you can imagine). Perceived distress was measured on a similar scale, ranging from 0 to 10. Perceived pain relief, from both the pain medication and the massage intervention, was measured on a percentage scale, ranging from 0 percent (no relief) to 100 percent (complete relief).
Results of the study showed significant reductions in both pain intensity and distress after the 20-minute massage, as well as significant decreases in heart rate and respiratory rate, but not systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
According to the research team’s report, “(t)he findings from the study indicated that a 20-minute foot and hand massage significantly reduced both pain intensity and distress resulting from incisional pain on the first postoperative day. Foot and hand massage appears to be an effective, inexpensive, low-risk, flexible, easily applied strategy for postoperative pain management.”
Massage Magazine (2005) Downloaded from http://www.massagemag.com/Magazine/2005/issue113/research113.3.php . Originally published by Wang, Hsiao-Lan R.N., & Keck Juanita F., R.N. Foot and Hand Massage as an Intervention for Postoperative Pain. In Pain Management Nursing, June 2004, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 59-65..