The effects of effleurage hand massage on anxiety and pain in patients undergoing chemotherapy

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To determine the effectiveness of effleurage hand massage performed by trained volunteers on reducing anxiety and pain in patients receiving treatment at a chemotherapy center in Fort Wayne, Ind., as measured by heart rate, respiratory rate, BP, visual analogue scale for anxiety (VAS-A), and visual analogue scale for pain (VAS-P).


Volunteers trained in effleurage massage gave 10-minute hand massages to 24 patients at the beginning of their chemotherapy session. Baseline and post-treatment vital signs were collected. Patients completed VAS-A and VAS-P scales before massage and after the chemotherapy session. Analysis of premassage and post-treatment data was performed using one-tailed Wilcoxon signed rank test.


Significant reductions were noted in systolic BP (z=-1.66, P<0.05), heart rate (z=-3.902, P<0.001), VAS-A (z=-3.91, P<0.001), and VAS-P (z=-3.49, P<0.001); no significant difference was found for diastolic BP (P=0.47) or respiratory rate (P=0.06).


In patients receiving chemotherapy, effleurage hand massages performed by trained volunteers effectively reduced anxiety and pain similar to previously reported results with massages administered by massage therapists. These findings could have important future implications, allowing for training of family members and caregivers in the technique of effleurage massage.

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