Fibromyalgia pain and substance P decrease and sleep improves after massage therapy

Tiffany Field, Miguel Diego, Christy Cullen, Maria Hernandez-Reif, William Sunshine, Steven Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Massage therapy has been observed to be helpful in some patients with fibromyalgia. This study was designed to examine the effects of massage therapy versus relaxation therapy on sleep, substance P, and pain in fibromyalgia patients. Twenty-four adult fibromyalgia patients were assigned randomly to a massage therapy or relaxation therapy group. They received 30-minute treatments twice weekly for 5 weeks. Both groups showed a decrease in anxiety and depressed mood immediately after the first and last therapy sessions. However, across the course of the study, only the massage therapy group reported an increase in the number of sleep hours and a decrease in their sleep movements. In addition, substance P levels decreased, and the patients' physicians assigned lower disease and pain ratings and rated fewer tender points in the massage therapy group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-76
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Fibromyalgia
  • Massage therapy
  • Substance P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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