Massage Therapy and Low Birth Weight Babies

Iran J Reprod Med. 2013 Jul;11(7):583-8.
Effect of body massage on increase of low birth weight neonates growth parameters: A randomized clinical trial.
Akhavan Karbasi S1, Golestan M1, Fallah R1, Golshan M2, Dehghan Z3.

Background: Admission of low birth-weight (LBW) neonates in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) causes their deprivation of tactile and sensory stimulation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate efficacy of body massage on growth parameters (weight, height and head circumference) gain velocity of LBW in Yazd, Iran.

Methods: A randomized clinical trial study was conducted on LBW neonates whom were admitted to NICU of Shahid Sadoughi Hospital, Yazd, Iran from March to December 2011. Neonates were randomly assigned to two groups. In group one, 20 neonates were received massage three times in a day for consecutive 14 days by their mothers. In group two, intervention consisted of standard and routine care as control group. The primary endpoints were efficacy in increase of mean of weight, height and head circumference that were evaluated 14 days after intervention, at ages one and two months. Secondary outcome was clinical side effects.

Results: 17 girls and 23 boys with mean gestational age of 34.4±1.22 weeks were evaluated. In the body massage group, only weight at the age of two months was significantly higher than the control group (mean±SD: 3250±305 vs. 2948±121 gr, p=0.005). No adverse events were seen in the two groups.

Conclusion: Body massage might be used as an effective and safe non-medical intervention for increasing of weight gain velocity in LBW preterm neonates.

Massage therapy and improved cervical spine movement

J Man Manip Ther. 2013 Feb;21(1):18-23.

A pilot study to investigate the short-term effects of specific soft tissue massage on upper cervical movement impairment in patients with cervicogenic headache.

Hopper D, Bajaj Y, Kei Choi C, Jan O, Hall T, Robinson K, Briffa K.

Upper cervical movement impairment and muscle dysfunction have been identified as core components of cervicogenic headache (CGH) pathogenesis. The purpose of this single-group pre-post test pilot study was to investigate the short-term effects of a specific soft tissue massage (SSTM) intervention to the cervical spine on range of upper cervical motion.

Eight subjects (mean age 28.1 years) with published criteria of CGH (mean history of headache for 7.1 years) were investigated. Range of rotation of the upper cervical spine to the left and right was determined by the flexion-rotation test. Movement was assessed in three phases: pre-intervention, intervention, and post-intervention. The SSTM intervention consisted of an 8-minute soft tissue massage to the cervical muscles bilaterally.

Pre-intervention measures of flexion-rotation test range of motion prior to the intervention over two assessment points were consistent. In contrast, a repeated measures analysis of variance revealed a significant improvement in range of rotation to the left and right after the first (P<0.01), second (P<0.01), but not third intervention (P = 0.19), from an average range of 27.5° at baseline to 45.9° at the third treatment session. After the 2-week post-intervention phase, range of motion remained stable without decline, and was considered full range.

This pilot study provides preliminary evidence of the potential for SSTM to improve, at least in the short-term, upper cervical range of motion in people with CGH.

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