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J Palliat Med. 2005 Oct;8(5):939-52.

A randomized controlled trial of meditation and massage effects on quality of life in people with late-stage disease: a pilot study.

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  • 1Yale Prevention Research Center, New Haven, Connecticut 06418, USA.



Certain meditation practices may effectively address spiritual needs near end-of-life, an often overlooked aspect of quality of life (QOL). Among people subject to physical isolation, meditation benefits may be blunted unless physical contact is also addressed.


To evaluate independent and interactive effects of Metta meditation and massage on QOL in people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).


Randomized controlled blinded factorial pilot trial conducted from November 2001 to September 2003.


An AIDS-dedicated skilled nursing facility in New Haven, Connecticut.


Fifty-eight residents (43% women) with late stage disease (AIDS or comorbidity).


Residents were randomized to 1 month of meditation, massage, combined meditation and massage, or standard care. The meditation group received instruction, then self-administered a meditation audiocassette daily. A certified massage therapist provided the massage intervention 30 minutes per day 5 days per week.


Changes on Missoula-Vitas QOL Index overall and transcendent (spiritual) scores at 8 weeks. Results: The combined group showed improvement in overall (p = 0.005) and transcendent (p = 0.01) scores from baseline to 8 weeks, a change significantly greater (p < 0.05) than the meditation, massage, and control groups.


The combination of meditation and massage has a significantly favorable influence on overall and spiritual QOL in late-stage disease relative to standard care, or either intervention component alone.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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