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PLoS One. 2018 May 3;13(5):e0196638. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196638. eCollection 2018.

Effects of Anma therapy (Japanese massage) on health-related quality of life in gynecologic cancer survivors: A randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Tsukuba University of Technology, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
P4 Statistics Co. Ltd., Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.



Anma therapy (Japanese massage therapy, AMT) significantly reduces the severity of physical complaints in survivors of gynecologic cancer. However, whether this reduction of severity is accompanied by improvement in health-related quality of life is unknown.


Forty survivors of gynecologic cancer were randomly allocated to either an AMT group that received one 40-min AMT session per week for 8 weeks or a no-AMT group. We prospectively measured quality of life by using the Japanese version of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 version 3.0 (EORTC QLQ-C30) at baseline and at 8-week follow-up. The QLQ-C30 response rate was 100%. Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS), Profile of Mood States (POMS), and Measure of Adjustment to Cancer were also prespecified and prospectively evaluated.


The QLQ-C30 Global Health Status and Quality of Life showed significant improvement at 8 weeks (P = 0.042) in the AMT group compared with the no-AMT group, and the estimated mean difference reached a minimal clinically important difference of 10 points (10.4 points, 95% CI = 1.2 to 19.6). Scores on fatigue and insomnia showed significant improvement in the AMT group compared with the no-AMT group (P = 0.047 and 0.003, respectively). There were no significant between-group improvements in HADS anxiety and depression scales; however, POMS-assessed anger-hostility showed significant improvement in the AMT group compared with the no-AMT group (p = 0.028).


AMT improved health-related quality of life in gynecologic cancer survivors. AMT can be of potential benefit for applications in oncology.

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