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Scand J Rehabil Med. 1985;17(2):81-6.

The local skin blood flow in areas at risk for pressure sores treated with massage.


In order to evaluate methods to prevent pressure sores the effect of massage on the local skin blood flow was studied in normal skin and in skin with discolouration (red or reddish blue). In this study massage is defined as small circular movements with the fingertips using liniment. The cutaneous blood flow was measured with a laser Doppler flowmeter. To study the long term effect of massage on normal skin ten patients were measured over a twenty day period with five days before and after a ten day period with massage. Twenty-nine patients with cerebral haemorrhage were measured for two days each to examine the effect immediately after the massage on normal skin. Fifteen patients with discolouration were measured for one day each both on normal skin and injured skin. The difference in blood flow before and after the ten day period of massage was inconsistent and insignificant. The effect of massage which appeared one to two minutes after the stimulus was implemented varies between individuals and within individuals; significantly more women than men increased their skin blood flow bilaterally after massage. In the centre of the injured skin the basal blood flow was higher than in normal skin and it decreased after the massage was implemented. The results stress the importance of continued research to provide an opportunity for individualization in the selection of methods to prevent and treat pressure sores.

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