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Trauma Mon. 2014 Aug;19(3):e17031. doi: 10.5812/traumamon.17031. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

Effect of Massage Therapy on Vital Signs and GCS Scores of ICU Patients: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.

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Trauma Research Center, Faculty of Nursing, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Faculty of Nursing, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
Road Traffic Injury Prevention Research Center, Department of Statistics and Epidemiology, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, IR Iran.
Sina Trauma and Surgery Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
Department of Nursing, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, IR Iran.



Unalleviated complications related to hospitalization, including stress, anxiety, and pain, can easily influence different structures, like the neural system, by enhancing the stimulation of sympathetic nervous pathways and causing unstable vital signs and deterioration in the level of consciousness.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of massage therapy by family members on vital signs and Glasgow Coma Scale Score (GCS) of patients hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).


This randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted at the ICU of the Shariati Hospital during 2012; 45 ICU patients and 45 family members in the experimental group and the same number of patients and family members in the control group were consecutively selected . The data collection instrument consisted of two parts. The first part included demographic data (age, marital status and Body Mass Index) and the second part included a checklist to record the patient's vital signs (systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), respiratory rate (RR), pulse rate (PR)) and GCS. All measurements were done at the same time in both groups before the intervention (full body massage therapy), and 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, and 4 hours after intervention. The patients were provided with a 60-minute full body massage The massage protocol included static, surface tension, stretching, superficial lymph unload, transverse friction, and myofacial releasing techniques.


Significant differences were observed between experimental and control groups in the SBP at 1 hour, SBP 2 hours, and SBP 3 hours, and also in GCS at 1 hour to GCS at 4 hours (P < 0.05). Multivariate analysis revealed a significant difference between experimental and control groups in SBP at all time points (P < 0.05).


Massage via family members had several positive effects on the patients' clinical conditions, and therefore, it should be recognized as one of the most important clinical considerations in hospitalized patients.


Glasgow Coma Scale; Intensive Care Unit; Massage; Vital Signs

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