The effects of massage therapy alone and in combination with other complementary therapies on immune system measures and quality of life in human immunodeficiency virus

T. J. Birk, A. McGrady, R. D. MacArthur, S. Khuder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Determine effects of massage therapy alone and in combination with exercise or stress management-biofeedback treatment on enumerative immune measures, and quality of life in moderately immunocompromised human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) subjects. Design: Randomized prospective controlled trial with 42 subjects randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups or a control group receiving standard care and intervention over a 12-week period. Setting: Academic medical center. Subjects: Forty-two (42) subjects with HIV infection (40 males; 2 females; aged 27-50 years) met eligibility requirements of CD4+ lymphocyte cell count greater than 200 cells per microliter; no present or recent signs or symptoms of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and were not hospitalized. Interventions: A 45-minute overall body massage once per week; similar massage and supervised aerobic exercise 2 other days per week; similar massage and biofeedback stress management once per week; control receiving standard treatment. Outcome Measures: Changes in peripheral blood levels of CD4+ lymphocytes, CD8+ lymphocytes, CD4+/CD8+ lymphocyte ratio and natural killer cells; six dimension quality-of-life assessment. Results: No significant changes (p > 0.05) were found in any enumerative immune measure. Significant (p < 0.05) differences for quality-of-life assessment were in health care utilization and health perceptions, favoring massage and stress management compared to massage only and controls. Conclusions: Massage administered once per week to HIV-infected persons does not enhance immune measures. Massage combined with stress management favorably alters health perceptions and leads to less utilization of health care resources. This suggests that HIV-infected persons receiving massage and stress management would tend to not overutilize health care services, thus possibly reducing health care costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-414
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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