The Use of Massage Therapy for Reducing Anxiety

A considerable number of cancer patients use complementary medicine therapies to relieve various symptoms such as pain, anxiety and depression, which occur in connection with cancer. This article explores the question of the extent to which massages can reduce the amount of pain, anxiety and depression. To do this, a systematic analysis of the literature in electronic databases and specialized journals was carried out. There is already evidence that massages can positively affect symptoms of pain, anxiety and depression.

Physiqu Action

1. Introduction
Cancer is the second most common cause of death after cardiovascular disease, causing symptoms that are unbearable and difficult to control in 70-80% of cases, especially when the healing phase is over and therapy must be continued with palliative intent [1] .

Depending on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease, different physical and mental symptoms can be observed and pain, anxiety and depression play a central role in the care and treatment of critically ill and terminally ill patients as the disease progresses. [2].

To relieve severe pain, opioid analgesics are administered due to their high efficacy and absence of specific organ toxicity. Despite its good efficacy, several side effects such as nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, respiratory depression, antitussive effect, urinary retention, itching, constipation, hyperalgesia, tolerance and dependence can be observed [2, 3].

Due to the progression of cancer and the simultaneous presence of severe pain, the risk of mental complications such as anxiety and depression increases [2, 4]. Between 10 and 20% of cancer patients suffer from depression [2]. Anxiety disorders can be found with a prevalence of 13 to 79% in this group of patients [5]. Anxiety is a multifactorial disorder that can be related to other symptoms such as depression and its drug treatment consists mainly of benzodiazepines, antidepressants, neuroleptics and opioids [1, 6, 7]. Side effects of these drugs include ataxia, breathing problems, amnesia, heart muscle fatigue, psychomotor and cognitive disorders, sleep disturbances, and paradoxical reactions [1, 5].

Because drug treatment produces a number of side effects, cancer patients often turn to complementary medicine therapies as an adjunct treatment to relieve symptoms [8]. Massage therapies are among the most widely used complementary treatments. Its effectiveness in reducing symptoms of pain, anxiety and depression in cancer patients has been investigated in several studies [8-12].

Regarding nursing practice, it is currently difficult to consult scientific articles that clearly illustrate the influence and efficacy of this method in cancer patients [8, 13, 14].

2. Objective and questions of the literature review
The goal of this literature review is to examine the effectiveness of massage therapy in reducing pain, anxiety and depression in patients receiving palliative cancer care.

(i) Can massage therapy reduce the level of pain in patients receiving palliative cancer care?
(ii) Can massage therapy reduce the level of anxiety in patients receiving palliative cancer care?
(iii) Can massage therapy reduce the level of depression in patients receiving palliative cancer care?

3. Methodical approach
To answer the above questions in the fiction literature, a review was conducted from March to July 2010 on the following databases: The Cochrane Library, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), PsychInfo (Ebsco), Medline (National Library of medicine), Embase, Amed (Ebsco) and Tripdatabase. The review was limited to studies published between 2000 and 2010. In addition, the authors’ references and selected journals were reviewed for further references.

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