Unexpected Impact When Family Caregivers Learn Touch and Massage: Cancer Patients Benefit


  • newswise-fullscreen Unexpected Impact When Family Caregivers Learn Touch and Massage: Cancer Patients Benefit

    William Collinge, Ph.D., lead researcher - Touch, Caring and Cancer program

  • newswise-fullscreen Unexpected Impact When Family Caregivers Learn Touch and Massage: Cancer Patients Benefit

    Caregiver instruction - Touch, Caring and Cancer DVD program

No-cost healthcare – Simple touch and massage techniques, easily learned and safely administered by family members, reduce symptoms of cancer and side-effects of cancer treatments.

Newswise — Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, a recent research study has revealed that touch and massage, routinely administered by care partners significantly reduces the effects of cancer and the side-effects from its treatment while providing comfort and improvement in the quality of life. During the study, family caregivers learned touch and massage techniques from an instructional DVD.

“The magnitude of the impact of family members was unexpected. Our research found significant reductions of pain, anxiety, fatigue, depression and nausea when massage was routinely administered at home by family and caregivers,” states lead researcher William Collinge, Ph.D.

The study found massage by family members reduced stress/anxiety (44% reduction), pain (34%), fatigue (32%), depression (31%), and nausea (29%).

“The discovery that family members can learn and administer simple massage techniques that can consistently reduce stress is significant. Stress is a constant that negatively impacts the lives and wellbeing of cancer patients,” states Collinge. “Both cancer patients and caregivers benefit because massage appears to strengthen the relationship bond. Massage provides the caregiver a way to make a difference.”

Collinge, the principal investigator and president of Collinge and Associates, reports an interesting fact, “Across all cancer patients, the frequency of massages averaged about four per week. Particularly interesting was the discovery of the importance of the duration of massages, especially for stage IV patients. Our findings revealed that, over a four week period, 78 percent of stage IV patients experienced a reduction of stress when the massages they received averaged at least 13.75 minutes. Only 15 percent of those receiving briefer massages reported a reduction of stress. This is a significant difference. It appears that 14 minutes is some kind of a 'tipping point' where, over time, the effects of massages by family members and caregivers accumulate and thus reduce stress in advanced cancer patients."

The study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and directed by William Collinge, Ph.D., used a 78-minute instructional DVD, “Touch, Caring, and Cancer: Simple Instruction for Family and Friends.” In the study, 97 care partners learned touch and massage techniques from the instructional DVD and then used these touch techniques to safely care for people living with cancer.

The DVD, accompanied by an illustrated manual, provides simple instructions for using touch and massage as a way of bringing comfort and relief to people living with cancer. This one-of-a-kind instructional DVD showcases safety tips and techniques from leading experts in cancer support and massage. These techniques can easily be learned by family and friends.

“Care partners receiving instruction via a video can achieve some of the same results as professional massage practitioners,” states Collinge. “There are 11 million people in the U.S. living with cancer. Care partners providing relief through touch has important implications for patient quality of life.”

“Touch, Caring, and Cancer: Simple Instruction for Family and Friends” was a winner in two Telly Award categories – health and wellness, and social issues. This DVD program is now available to the public in English, Spanish and Chinese. More information and video previews are available at http://www.partnersinhealing.net/dvd.

MEDIA OPPORTUNITY: William Collinge, Ph.D., president of Collinge and Associates and principal investigator for “Touch, Caring, and Cancer” program, is available for interview and can share his research findings from the groundbreaking touch and massage cancer care study.

VIDEO USAGE BY MEDIA: When coordinated with the producer of the video, William Collinge, Ph.D., excerpts from the Telly Award-winning “Touch, Caring, and Cancer: Simple Instruction for Family and Friends,” may be used by broadcast media to support feature and educational stories about family members using simple techniques of touch to provide comfort for people living with cancer. Credit usage by stating, “Learn more about this program by visiting www.partnersinhealing.net/dvd.”

BACKGROUND: The Touch, Caring, and Cancer program was developed as part of a research study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Behavioral Research Program, Health Communication Informatics Research Branch (grant #CA103606). For the latest information on research findings and publications related to the program, visit the Collinge and Associates web site at www.collinge.org About Collinge and Associates: Collinge and Associates is an independent research and consulting organization based in Kittery, Maine. The group conducts research in complementary therapies for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and does scientific review consulting for NIH and other organizations. Website: www.collinge.org.

Press contact: Dennis Noland, Shiftpoint Strategies, Inc., Seattle, Wash. (206) 622-8011


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