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Body Image. 2011 Sep;8(4):411-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2011.06.004. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

A preliminary examination of the effect of massage on state body image.

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Department of Psychology, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA 02325, USA.


Evidence suggests positive effects of massage on psychological health; however, little is known about the effects of massage on body image. This research examined the effect of massage on state body image as well as relations between trait body image and attitudes toward massage. Forty-nine female university students were randomly assigned to either a massage condition or a control condition. It was hypothesized that participants in the massage condition would report improved state body image following the intervention when compared to participants in the control condition. As predicted, participants in the massage condition reported a more favorable state body image than participants in the control condition post-manipulation. Certain body image evaluations were moderately associated with views that massage is pleasurable, with the link between Body Areas Satisfaction and viewing massage as pleasurable reaching significance. Research is needed to determine the mechanism/s through which massage improves body image.

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