High blood pressure is associated with elevated anxiety, stress and stress hormones, hostility, depression and catecholamines. Massage therapy and progressive muscle relaxation were evaluated as treatments for reducing blood pressure and these associated symptoms. Adults who had been diagnosed as hypertensive received ten 30 min massage sessions over five weeks or they were given progressive muscle relaxation instructions (control group). Sitting diastolic blood pressure decreased after the first and last massage therapy sessions and reclining diastolic blood pressure decreased from the first to the last day of the study. Although both groups reported less anxiety, only the massage therapy group reported less depression and hostility and showed decreased urinary and salivary stress hormone levels (cortisol). Massage therapy may be effective in reducing diastolic blood pressure and symptoms associated with hypertension.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and Manual Therapy
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Complementary and alternative medicine