Therapeutic massage to enhance family caregivers’ well-being in a rehabilitation hospital

Natalie A. Williams, Judith M. Burnfield, Springer Paul Springer, Kayla Wolf, Thad Buster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: A massage therapy program was implemented to address the psychological well-being of family caregivers to patients in a rehabilitation hospital. The impact of massage “dosage” on caregiver stress and psychological well-being was examined in this study. Participants’ perspectives on the program were also explored. Materials and methods: Thirty-eight family caregivers were randomized to receive either one massage per week or three massages per week for two weeks. Caregivers reported psychological symptoms and stress pre- and post-program. Program acceptability was assessed via responses on an exit survey. Results: Overall, 79% of massages were received (89% among program completers). Post-program symptom scores were lower than baseline scores for both groups (F (1, 31) = 8.74 - 24.50, P < 0.01). Exit surveys indicated high program acceptability and perceived benefits. Conclusion: Findings suggest that massage services would be welcomed, utilized, and beneficial for improving the psychological well-being of family caregivers in a rehabilitation hospital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Family caregivers
  • Hospital
  • Massage
  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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