Massage and Manual Therapy Studies

The Integrative Medicine and Health Research Program at Mayo Clinic studies how massage and manual therapies can reduce pain and anxiety and improve quality of life for patients in settings such as hospice or the intensive care unit.

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of muscles, tendons, skin and other soft tissues to reduce stress, pain and muscle tension. It's increasingly offered to augment traditional therapies, and can be administered by itself or in combination with techniques such as music therapy or acupuncture.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials on massage therapy to improve quality of life and reduce pain and anxiety include:

  • Massage therapy alone and with acupuncture for patients with breast cancer. Led by Christina A. Dilaveri, M.D., researchers are investigating whether massage therapy combined with acupuncture in patients recovering from autologous tissue reconstruction is more effective than massage therapy alone. Learn more or enroll.
  • Massage therapy for patients in hospice. Maria I. Lapid, M.D., is the principal investigator of an interventional study evaluating how massage therapy can improve the quality of life of patients in a hospice setting. Learn more or enroll.
  • Massage therapy with music therapy for patients in hospice. Dr. Lapid also leads an interventional cohort study in which participants receive either massage therapy or music therapy interventions to evaluate how each of these therapies affect the quality of life of patients in hospice. Learn more or enroll.
  • Massage therapy for patients with subarachnoid hemorrhages. Researchers are studying the effectiveness of massage techniques, compared with standard medical therapy, to ease pain and anxiety in patients who have subarachnoid hemorrhages and are in the intensive care unit. Learn more or enroll.