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JOURNAL ARTICLE

The Effect of Single-Dose Massage Session on Autonomic Activity, Mood, and Affective Responses in Major Depressive Disorder

Rodrigo Hohl, Andréa Camaz Deslandes, Cláudia Helena Cerqueira Mármora
Journal of Holistic Nursing: Official Journal of the American Holistic Nurses' Association 2019 February 27, : 898010119832493
30810079

BACKGROUND: Massage therapy (MT) is a holistic procedure that includes hand pressure (HP), therapeutic communication (TC), and attentive care (AC); together, these procedures could decrease symptoms of depression.

PURPOSE: To study the influence of TC and AC during MT.

METHODS: Within-subject experimental design with counterbalancing order of treatment. Comparison analysis of the effect of a typical Swedish massage session (SM) with a "sham" massage (ShM; without HP) on the heart rate variability (HRV) mood and affective responses of patients with major depressive disorder ( N = 11). During the ShM, clay stones were randomly placed on the body, and the patients were informed about the (sham) therapeutic effect of stones.

FINDINGS: A main effect of time showed that after intervention, both SM and ShM increased the HRV (high-frequency power; F[1, 10] = 7.58, p = .02) and reduced scores for anxiety ( F[1, 10] = 37.57, p < .001), other feelings ( F[1, 10] = 22.64, p = .001), and physical sedation ( F[1, 10] = 10.72, p = .008). The SM was associated with more positive affective responses than ShM (qualitative analysis).

CONCLUSIONS: AC and TC included in MT session improved mood and HRV in the absence of HP. Additional effect on affective responses was observed owing to the HP.

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