Study results for massage and cancer-related stress in kids

August 09, 2010
Aug. 4, Toronto, Ont. – A recent study showed that massage and other relaxation therapies do not lower somatic distress and mood disturbances in children undergoing stem cell transplants.

Previous findings in adults had indicated that massage, relaxation, laughter,  guided imagery and other complementary therapies were as, or more, effective in adult populations with cancer related stresses than conventional drug and/or psychosocial interventions, but that children do not respond in a similar fashion. 

The study was a multisite trial and involved researchers from Canada’s The Hospital for Sick Children. It was released from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee and published in July 2010  in Cancer, the official publication of the American Cancer Society. 

Children who have undergone stem cell transplants from blood or bone marrow often deal with pain, and require isolation due to being high risk for infection.  They are, also, usually on restricted diets.  Stem cell transplants are among the toughest therapies a child with cancer would have to endure and researchers were hopeful that they could help alleviate some of the resulting stresses with complementary, non-aggressive therapies.

These results are disappointing to the research team but they will continue to search for  ways to assist children in dealing with these stresses.

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