Acupuncture and Massage Reduce Pain After Cancer Surgery

Posted April 04, 2007 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Acupuncture, Massage


Acupuncture and massage are effective in decreasing pain and depression following surgery in cancer patients, according to a UCSF study. The study compared post-operative pain, nausea and mood symptoms in two groups of hospitalized patients during the first three days after cancer surgery. The study appears in the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

One group had standard medication treatment, and one group received a combination of Swedish massage, Shiatsu foot massage and traditional Chinese acupuncture treatment along with standard care. Massage therapy sessions ranged from 10-30 minutes depending on clinical condition and acupuncture was used to treat pain, nausea and anxiety. Study findings indicated that compared with usual care alone, the combination of massage and acupuncture was associated with reduced post-operative pain and reduced depression.

“This pilot study confirmed that pain after surgery decreased when patients underwent a combination of massage and acupuncture. This is a significant finding because there are implications for further study to see if these therapies should be offered to hospitalized patients for symptom management,” said Wolf Mehling, M.D., lead author and UCSF assistant professor of family and community medicine. “For patients who received acupuncture and massage, it is possible that this personal attention contributed to a marked decrease in anxiety.”

During the three-day post-operative period, patients used a 0-10 point numeric pain rating scale to rank severity of current pain and pain during the previous 24 hours. The average scores among patients reporting significant pain improved by 1.8 for the massage and acupuncture intervention group compared to 0.3 in the control group. “The combination of massage and acupuncture for symptom management in perioperative cancer patients has never been studied,” said Mehling. “We know that integration of these therapies has shown short-term benefit on psychological well-being, but there has not been strong evidence to support it until now.”

To learn more about Acupuncture & Massage Therapy call Dr. Richard Browne at 305.595.9500

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