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Keywords:

  • back massage;
  • back rub;
  • massage;
  • nursing research;
  • integrative review

Abstract

(1) The experience of illness and/or hospitalization often elicits a stress response which may manifest as sleep disturbances, increased heart rate, increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, anxiety and general discomfort. The diagnosis and treatment of a person's response to illness or other event is key tenet of nursing. The well-established nursing intervention, back rub or back massage, has been utilized as a time-honored comfort measure. This research review summarizes the studies that have evaluated the effect of massage on psychophysiologic outcome measures. Research demonstrates that back massage has the ability to elicit a relaxation response in the majority of study subjects.