Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hand and feet massages provide consolation for bereaved relatives

Date:
March 28, 2010
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Receiving soothing massages for eight weeks after the death of a loved one can provide much-needed consolation during an intense, stressful period of grieving. Eighteen people, aged from 34-78, who had lost a relative to cancer took part in the study. They all said the massages provided consolation, helping them to balance the need to grieve and the need to adapt to life after the loss of their relative.

Receiving soothing massages for eight weeks after the death of a loved one can provide much-needed consolation during an intense, stressful period of grieving, according to a study in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Eighteen people who had lost a relative to cancer took part in the study. Participants ranged from 34 to 78 years of age and included widows, widowers, daughters and sisters. Nine chose foot massage, eight chose hand massage and one asked for both. Only three had previous experience of soft tissue massage.

"Details about the massage study were included in an information pack provided by the palliative care team when people's relatives died" says lead author Dr Berit S Cronfalk from the Stockholms Sjukhem Foundation, a Swedish palliative care provider.

Relatives were offered a 25-minute hand or foot massage once a week for eight weeks and could choose whether the sessions took place at home, work or at the hospital.

"Soft tissue massage is gentle, but firm" explains Dr Cronfalk, who carried out the research with colleagues from the Karolinska Institutet. "This activates touch receptors which then release oxytocin, a hormone known for its positive effects on well-being and relaxation.

"In this study the hand or foot massage was done with slow strokes, light pressure and circling movements using oil lightly scented with citrus or hawthorn.

"The relatives were then encouraged to relax for a further 30 minutes."

Baseline data was collected on the participants during a 60-minute interview before the programme started and a further 60-minute interview was conducted a week after the massage programme finished.

The interviews with the participants, which have been published in the Journal's annual complementary therapy issue, showed that they derived considerable benefits from the programme.

The relatives' comments could be divided into four key themes:

1) A helping hand at the right time

  • "I was happy to find the leaflet about the study in the folder…Straight away I felt it was for me. And as I phoned it felt great just to speak with a professional."
  • "Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. I just felt I needed to do something to get rid of that pain and it seemed like a good alternative."

2) Something to rely on

  • "I almost longed for it. It started at the beginning of the week…the massage became something to look forward to."
  • "She [the therapist] has cared for him and now she cared for me."

3) Moments of rest

  • "I could focus on my grief during the massage and that helped me handle the rest of the week."
  • "I was just lying there… and no one expected me to talk about my feelings."

4) Moments of retaining energy

  • "I gained strength… Through my weakness, strength emerged."
  • "I suddenly realised that I could go through my thoughts in a much calmer way…I was more sensible in my thinking."

A follow-up six to eight months after the study showed that 17 of the relatives had moved forward with their lives, but one had suffered further emotional problems after the death of another close family member.

"All the people we spoke to used the word consolation" says Dr Cronfalk.

"The massages provide physical touch and closeness and helped to diminish the feelings of empty space and loneliness that people felt.

"Study participants also told us that the massages helped them to balance the need to grieve and the need to adapt to life after the loss of their relative."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cronfalk et al. Soft tissue massage: early intervention for relatives whose family members died in palliative cancer care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 19, 1040-1048. (April 2010) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2009.02985.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Hand and feet massages provide consolation for bereaved relatives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324094638.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2010, March 28). Hand and feet massages provide consolation for bereaved relatives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324094638.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Hand and feet massages provide consolation for bereaved relatives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324094638.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins