The effect of massage therapy on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in pediatric cancer

Seyedreza Mazlum, Narges Toghian Chaharsoughi, Abdolah Banihashem, Hamidreza Behnam Vashani


Background: Nausea and vomiting are the most common and unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy, and they may prevent successful treatment completion. Antiemetics not only cannot control nausea and vomiting completely but also have numerous side effects. So it is necessary to find other methods for a better control. This study aimed to assess the effect of massage therapy on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in pediatric cancer.

Materials and Methods: In this randomized controlled clinical trial study, 70 patients (4-18 years of age) under chemotherapy were divided into two (massage therapy and control) groups randomly. In the massage group at 0.5 h and 24 h before and 24 h after chemotherapy, the patients were massaged (Swedish massage) for 20 min, respectively. All indices of nausea and vomiting (incidence, severity, time, and length) were assessed by Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and BARF scales and other questionnaires and documented.

Results: The results of Mann–Whitney and chi-squire tests indicated that in the massage group, the incidence of nausea was 25.7%, the severity, length, and times of nausea were 20%, 54 min, and 0.35 times, respectively, and the severity and times of vomiting were 0.24 scores and 0.31 times lower than those of the control group (P < 0.05), respectively. But vomiting incidence in the two groups showed no significant difference (P = 0.192).

Conclusions: Massage therapy reduced chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. So, nurses can use it and educate it to the patients’ families. Nurses, besides using it clinically, can provide instructions to families for involving them in the treatment process and they feel they are more efficate in care of their suffering children.

Key words: Cancer, chemotherapy, massage, nausea, vomiting, paediatrics, Iran

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