Our study “Moving Music and Massage Therapy from Nice to Necessary,” which examined the feasibility and effectiveness of conducting a randomized controlled trial comparing massage therapy and music therapy to usual care on the BMC family medicine 6 West inpatient unit. We successfully recruited all 90 participants in less than six months. We were particularly proud of being able to offer the study in both English and Spanish. Preliminary quantitative and qualitative analyses suggest strong feasibility for the intervention, high satisfaction among patients, and strong engagement with the nursing staff.

Despite major advances in cancer treatment, many patients undergo painful procedures during treatment and suffer debilitating side effects as well as report a decrease in quality of life (QOL). This problem is exacerbated for low-income, racial, and ethnic minorities with cancer. Minority cancer patients often enter care with larger tumors and with a more aggressive disease, increasing the risk of debilitating symptoms, such as pain and anxiety. Researchers have never assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of offering massage therapy for low-income, underserved cancer patients who are undergoing port insertion. This study examined the feasibility of conducting a randomized, controlled trial (RCT) that would assess the use of massage therapy to reduce pain and anxiety in urban patients with cancer who undergo surgical placement of a vascular access device (port). The study also assessed the effectiveness of the intervention in reducing perioperative pain and anxiety.

Rosen J, Lawrence R, Bouchard M, Doros G, Gardiner P, Saper R. Massage for perioperative pain and anxiety in placement of vascular access devices. Adv Mind Body Med. 2013; 27(1):12-23. PMID: 23341418.