Therapeutic Massage

Therapeutic massage is the application of pressure and motion by the hands with the intent of improving the
recipient’s well-being. It involves kneading, rubbing, and using friction. The primary techniques used to perform a massage are described in the accompanying display. For the past 30 years, many touch therapies have been assimilated into mainstream nursing practice. Massage therapy is now recognized as a highly beneficial modality and is prescribed by a number of physicians. In addition, many states now have licensing requirements for massage practitioners.
Traditionally, back rubs have been administered by nurses to provide comfort to hospitalized clients.
Today, they are considered standard practice. Massage techniques can be used with all age groups and are
especially beneficial to those who are immobilized. A back rub or massage can achieve many results, including relaxation, increased circulation of the blood and lymph, and relief from musculoskeletal stiffness, pain, and spasm. Research (Beeken, Parks, Cory, & Montopoli, 1998) suggests that individuals with chronic
obstructive lung disease benefit from massage therapy. The subjects in this study experienced positive changes in heart rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure as a result of massage. Boards of Nursing in some states (e.g., Louisiana, Massachusetts) state that it is within the scope of nursing practice for
nurses to employ complementary therapies, including massage (LSBN, 1999; MBRN, 1997). The National
Association of Nurse Massage Therapists (NANMT) was established in 1990 to promote professional ethical
standards for nurse massage therapists. The NANMTestablished standards reflect those of the American
Nurses Association.

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