Research: HERNANDEZ-REIF and collea

Listed in Issue 74


HERNANDEZ-REIF and colleagues, Touch Research Institutes, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33101, USA, examined whether the distress of children with severe burns could be reduced by massage therapy to non-burned body parts.



Subjects were 24 children (mean age 2.5 years) hospitalized for severe burns. Before dressing changes, the children received either standard dressing care or massage therapy to non-burned body parts in addition to standard dressing care.


Children receiving massage therapy displayed minimal distress behaviours and no increase in movement other than torso movement during dressing changes. In comparison, children receiving standard dressing care only showed increased facial grimacing, torso movement, crying, leg movement and reaching out. Nurses also found it easier to complete dressing changes on children who received massage therapy.


The results indicate that massage therapy reduces the distress of children with severe burns during dressing changes. Massage therapy also aided completion of dressing changes in these children. It may also help reduce distress responses of children to other 'aversive' medical procedures.


Hernandez-Reif M et al. Children's distress during burn treatment is reduced by massage therapy. The Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation 22 (2): 191-5. Mar-Apr 2001.

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