Listed in Issue 184


LEMANEK and COLLEAGUES, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Philadelphia 43205, USA. conducted a randomized controlled trial to study the short-term effects of massage therapy on youth with sickle cell disease (SCD) and their parents.


This randomized controlled trial investigated the short-term effects of massage therapy on youth with SCD and their parents.


Thirty-four children and adolescents, and their parents were assigned to a massage therapy or an attention control group. Parents were trained in massage in their homes once a week for 4 weeks, with instructions to provide nightly massages. Families in the control group were visited weekly by a research assistant. Participants completed measures of depression and anxiety, functional status, pain intensity, medication use, and service utilization.


Parents in the massage therapy group reported higher levels of depression and anxiety following the intervention. Youth in this group showed higher levels of functional status, and lower levels of depression, anxiety, and pain. Health service utilization rates were unchanged from pre- to post-intervention.


These results offer preliminary support for parent-delivered massage therapy as an intervention for SCD pain.


Lemanek KL, Ranalli M and Lukens C. A randomized controlled trial of massage therapy in children with sickle cell disease. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 34(10): 1091-6. Nov-Dec 2009.

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