STUDY: Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations.
International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197‐ 205. Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T., Goncalves, A., Burman, I., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996).
METHODS: Twenty‐six adults were given a chair massage and 24 control group adults were asked to relax in the massage chair for 15 minutes, two times per week for five weeks. On the first and last days of the study they were monitored for EEG before, during and after the sessions. In addition, before and after the sessions they performed math computations, they completed POMS Depression and State Anxiety Scales and they provided a saliva sample for cortisol. At the beginning of the sessions they completed Life Events, Job Stress and Chronic POMS Depression Scales.
- frontal delta power increased for both groups, suggesting relaxation;
- the massage group showed decreased frontal alpha and beta power (suggesting enhanced alertness), while the control group showed increased alpha and beta power;
- the massage group showed increased speed and accuracy on math computations while the control group did not change;
- anxiety levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions, although mood state was less depressed following both the massage and control sessions;
- salivary cortisol levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions but only on the first day; and
- at the end of the 5 week period depression scores were lower for both groups but the job stress score was lower only for the massage group.