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J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Dec;18(12):1142-6. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0643. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

The benefits of giving a massage on the mental state of massage therapists: a randomized, controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Primary Care, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.



The objective of this study was to determine whether giving a massage had an impact of the mental state of the massage therapist.


The design of this study was a randomized, controlled, blinded study with two parallel groups.


This study was conducted at an accredited school of therapeutic massage in Dallas, Texas.


The study comprised healthy female and male final-term massage students between ages 18 and 65 years.


The participants were randomized into two groups: (1) the experimental group who gave a 1-hour Swedish massage to a massage client (Massage group), or (2) the control group who sat in a room doing normal, daily activities (Control group). Both these activities were a normal part of the daily routine for these massage students.


The primary outcomes were the change in the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) scores pre- and postparticipation.


Twenty-two (22) participants were randomized in this trial. The baseline characteristics were comparable between the two groups. A statistically significant advantage for the massage group was found relative to the control group in subjective anxiety (DASS Anxiety Subscale, p=0.014). There were no significant differences between the groups with regard to total DASS score (p=0.540), subjective depressive symptoms (DASS Depression Subscale, p=0.472) and subjective stress-related symptoms (DASS Stress Subscale, p=0.919). There were no adverse events reported by any participant.


This study shows that massage therapists themselves may benefit from giving a therapeutic massage by experiencing less subjective anxiety following the giving of a massage.

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