Neurohormonal Effects of Massage Therapy

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Over the last several years I have developed a program of research and a group of Touch Research Institutes to conduct research on touch therapies including the use of massage therapy for: 1) depressed pregnant women to prevent prematurity and 2) enhancing growth and development of preterm infants. In these studies positive effects unique to the different conditions have resulted from massage therapy. Following on the publication of these empirical data, replications are needed, and the potential underlying phenomena need further exploration. The specific aims of this KO5 application are to explore potential underlying mechanisms that might explain the effects of massage therapy on the two conditions of preventing prematurity in infants of depressed mothers and enhancing growth and development in preterm infants. Two research projects will be conducted on different conditions including 1) pregnancy massage to prevent prematurity and 2) preterm infant massage to enhance growth and development. For both projects a massage therapy and a standard treatment control group will be compared in a group analysis model. Path analyses will also be used to test hypothesized underlying mechanism models. The pregnancy massage project has just been funded by the March of Dimes, and the preterm infant massage project just received NIH funding. In addition, I would receive summer term mentoring and would spend time planning collaborative studies with Dr. Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg on mechanisms underlying stimulation/growth relationship including oxytocin and learning aspirate techniques for assessing food absorption hormones and Dr. Vivette Glover on factors contributing to prematurity including elevated norepinephrine and cortisol and the resulting uterine artery resistance and the technology for measuring that resistance. The K05 would allow me to increase my research time including being mentored and mentoring students from 25 to 75% time. [unreadable]
Effective start/end date2/1/051/31/08


  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: $180,095.00
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: $184,473.00
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: $189,419.00


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