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J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jan;18(1):61-4. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0797. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Urut Melayu for poststroke patients: a qualitative study.

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Institute for Health Systems Research, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



Urut Melayu, the traditional Malay massage, had been introduced into three pioneer hospitals in Malaysia, as part of the integrated hospital program. It was introduced primarily for the rehabilitation of poststroke patients. After almost 3 years since it was first implemented, there are currently plans to extend it to other hospitals in the country. Information from this study will contribute toward a better future implementation plan.


This study was conducted to gain an insight into the experiences and views of poststroke patients and their urut Melayu practitioners.


A qualitative study design was adopted. A total of 17 semistructured in-depth interviews were carried out with poststroke patients who were undergoing urut Melayu treatment at one of the three integrated hospitals. Information was solicited from their accompanying caregivers whenever necessary. The 2 urut Melayu practitioners at the hospital were also interviewed. All the interviews were carried out in Malay by the authors, at the Traditional and Complementary Medicine unit of the relevant hospital. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded into categories through a constant-comparison method of data analysis. Illustrative quotations were identified to supplement the narrative descriptions of the themes.


It was found that urut Melayu was sought by patients who had experienced stroke brought about by hypertension and postdelivery complications. They reported the unique characteristics of urut Melayu and their positive experiences with it.


Urut Melayu has potential as a complementary therapy for poststroke patients. It is recommended that the number of practitioners at the Traditional and Complementary Medicine unit be increased to provide the optimum care for poststroke patients.

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