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Hypertension and Massage


Following myofascial trigger-point massage therapy, subjects showed a significant decrease in heart rate, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Subjects also felt a decrease in muscle tension and an improved state of emotion. Analysis of heart rate variability revealed a significant increase in parasympathetic activity.

- Delaney, J.P., Leong, K.S., Watkins, A., & Brodie, D. (2002). -- The short-term effects of myofascial trigger point massage therapy on cardiac autonomic tone in healthy subjects. -- Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37, 364-71.


After receiving a ten minute back rub, participants had their oxygen consumption and cardiac output measured. Results showed that relaxation was caused by central and peripheral components of oxygen consumption being altered and a decrease in cardiac output.

- Boone, T., Tanner, M., & Radosevich, A. (2001). -- Effects of a 10-minute back rub on cardiovascular responses in healthy subjects. -- American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 29, 47-52


Results of this study showed that massage-like stroking of the abdomen decreased the blood pressure of anesthetized rats. Massage of the ventral and lateral sides of the abdomen caused arterial blood pressure to drop.

- Kurosawa, M., Lundeberg, T., Agren, G., Lund, I., & Uvnas-Moberg, K. (1995). -- Massage-like stroking of the abdomen lowers blood pressure in anesthetized rats: influence of oxytocin. -- Journal of the Autonomic Nervous System, 56, 26-30.


People who had been diagnosed with hypertension were given massages for five weeks (ten 30-minute sessions) experienced lowered blood pressure, less hostile behavior, less depression and lower salivary and urinary hormone levels (cortisol). Researchers concluded that massage therapy may be useful in lessening the symptoms of hypertension and lowering diastolic blood pressure.

- Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, H., Hossain, Z., & Burman, I. (2000). -- High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. -- Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 4, 31-38.

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last update: April 2009



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