Research: MUNK and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 197


MUNK and COLLEAGUES, Graduate Center for Gerontology, University of Kentucky , Lexington, KY 40536, USA. examined the potential impact of massage therapy (MT) in older adults (60+ years) with persistent pain.


Persistent pain is a frequent complaint among older adults and can greatly decrease quality of life while also contributing to other negative outcomes such as poor health, increased pharmaceutical medication usage, increased rates of depression, and cognitive decline.


The current study (N=69) examines the potential impact of massage therapy (MT) in older adults (60+ years) with persistent pain, by comparing self-reported health outcome scores among those who have and have not utilized massage therapy in the past year. The current study was derived from a larger study that collected data as part of a one-time, self-report, mail-in survey. Lexington, Kentucky area adults, 60 and older who reported persistent pain were eligible to participate in the study. The RAND 36-Item Health Survey was used to determine participant health-related quality of life.


The current study demonstrated that for older adults experiencing persistent pain, massage is associated with self-report of less limitation due to physical or emotional issues, better emotional health, more energy/less fatigue, better social functioning, and better overall health. Age, education, cumulative morbidities, number of areas in which participants reported experiencing persistent pain, and number of complementary and alternative medicine options in addition to MT utilized in the past year did not affect the association between receipt of massage and better self-reports in those domains.


While many causes of pain for older adults elude cure, further study is warranted that examines MT as an intervention to improve coping in older adults with persistent pain.


Munk N, Kruger T and Zanjani F. Massage therapy usage and reported health in older adults experiencing persistent pain. Source Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine. 17(7): 609-16. Jul 2011.


The above two studies demonstrate the clinical benefits of Massage Therapy (MT) in adults in the workplace and in pain.

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