1. Literature review of back massage and similar techniques to promote sleep in elderly people.

[Article in German]

Schiff A.




Universität Witten/Herdecke, Institut für Pflegewissenschaft, Frankfurt. AndreaSchiff@aol.com


Insomnia is a frequent problem among elderly people. As a consequence, sedative hypnotic drugs are prescribed very often that can lead to problematic effects. As an alternative to sedative hypnotic drugs nurses use relaxing interventions to promote sleep. One of these techniques, the back massage, is very popular because of the expected relaxing effect of touch. Against this background, this review includes 16 surveys of the international nursing literature and the German literature until the year 2004, that analyse the most common intervention in Germany, the "Atemstimulierende Einreibung" (similar to Effleurage). These studies are presented and evaluated. The results indicate that these interventions promote relaxation and sleep and that they are perceived as very pleasant by the elderly. However; they do not explain in detail the reasons for effects these and the role of touch. This review shows that further research (RCTs) is necessary to determine the effects of back massage and "Atemstimulierende Einreibung" on relaxation and sleep.

PMID: 16821325

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


2. Multi-central controlled study on three-part massage therapy for treatment of insomnia of deficiency of both the heart and spleen.

[Article in Chinese]

Zhou YF, Wei YL, Zhang PL, Gao S, Ning GL, Zhang ZQ, Hu B, Wang DY, Yan MR, Liu WJ.




Third Affiliated Hospital of Henan TCM University, Zhengzhou 450008, China. zyf5680198@126.com



To make multi-central clinical evaluation for three-part massage therapy for treatment of insomnia of deficiency of both the heart and spleen.


One hundred and sixty-six cases were randomly divided into a test group (n = 84) and a control group (n = 82). Multi-central, randomized and controlled methods were adopted. The test group were treated by the three-part massage therapy, i. e. acupoints at the head, abdomen and back were massaged, once each day; and the control group by oral administration of Guipi Pills [symbol: see text], 8 pills each time, thrice daily. The treatment was given for 15 consecutive days and then the therapeutic effects were observed.


Sixty-seven cases were cured, 11 markedly effective, 3 effective, and 3 ineffective in the test group, and the corresponding figures were 10, 21, 29 and 22 in the control group with a very significant difference between the two groups (P< 0.001). The test group was superior to the control group in improvement for Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Sleepless Anxiety Scale (SAS) and Sleepless Depression Scale (SDS) (P < 0.001).


The three-part massage therapy has definite therapeutic effect on insomnia of deficiency of both the heart and spleen with safety.

PMID: 16813176

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


3. The effects of foot and facial massage on sleep induction, blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate: crossover pilot study.

Ejindu A.




London South Bank University, Faculty of Health and Social Care, LSBU at Havering Campus, Gubbins Lane, Harold Wood, Romford, RM3 0BE, UK. ejinduam@lsbu.ac.uk


The study aimed to compare the effects of facial massage with that of foot massage on sleep induction and vital signs of healthy adults and to test a methodology that could be used by a lone researcher in such a study. A randomised within-group crossover pilot study of six healthy female volunteers was conducted. The interventions were a 20min foot and a 20min facial massage using peach-kernel base oil Prunus persica. A drop in systolic blood pressure of 8.5mmHg was recorded immediately after facial massage compared to that of 1mmHg recorded after foot massage. Both treatments were equally effective in reducing subjective levels of alertness during the interventions, with face massage marginally better at producing subjective sleepiness. A lone researcher using these methods would be able objectively to measure vital signs before and after interventions, but not during; and would be able subjectively to measure sleep induction in non-sleep-laboratory contexts.

PMID: 17950182

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]