Document Type : Original Articles


1 Student Research Committee, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Physiotherapy, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.


 Background: At the present time, massage has become a popular therapy employed in complementary medicine. There is evidence showing that back massage might have many positive psychological effects, possibly due to having many autonomic nervous system afferent inputs. One of the frequent positions during massage is prone position. However, there has been limited research investigating the effect of back massage in the prone position on blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR). The present study planned to investigate the changes of blood pressure and heart rate after back massage in prone position.Methods: Sixty-one healthy women were divided into two groups. Group one lay prone and was given a 15-minute massage while group two just lay prone for 15 minutes. Immediately prior to and after interventions, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate were measured in both groups. To assess within group differences, paired t-test was used. Independent t-test was also used to assess between group differences.Results: The results showed that systolic blood pressure decreased significantly after massage and also in the group only lying prone (P<0.05), with no significant difference between groups (P>0.05). Changes of diastolic blood pressure and heart rate were not significant in either group.Conclusion: Massage and lying prone both can cause a decrease in systolic blood pressure. Massage was not seen to be more efficient than lying prone.


  1. Kim, M.S., et al., Effects of hand massage on anxiety in cataract surgery using local anesthesia. Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, 2001. 27(6): p. 884-890.
  2. Ouchi, Y., et al., Changes in cerebral blood flow under the prone condition with and without massage. Neuroscience letters, 2006. 407(2): p. 131-135.
  3. Lindgren, L., et al., Physiological responses to touch massage in healthy volunteers. Autonomic Neuroscience. 158(1): p. 105-110.
  4. Aourell, M., M. Skoog, and J. Carleson, Effects of Swedish massage on blood pressure. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 2005. 11(4): p. 242-246.
  5. Moyer, C.A., et al., Does massage therapy reduce cortisol? A comprehensive quantitative review.Journal of bodywork and movement therapies. 15(1): p. 3-14.
  6. Ejindu, A., The effects of foot and facial massage on sleep induction, blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate: Crossover pilot study. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 2007. 13(4): p. 266-275.
  7. Moeini, M., et al., The effect of massage therapy on blood pressure of women with pre-hypertension. Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research. 16(1): p. 61.
  8. Fraser, J. and J.R. Kerr, Psychophysiological effects of back massage on elderly institutionalized patients. Journal of advanced nursing, 1993. 18(2): p. 238-245.
  9. Cady, S.H. and G.E. Jones, Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for reduction of stress. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1997. 84(1): p. 157-158.
  10. Hayes, J. and C. Cox, Immediate effects of a five-minute foot massage on patients in critical care. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 1999. 15(2): p. 77-82.
  11. Jane, S.-W., et al., Effects of a full-body massage on pain intensity, anxiety, and physiological relaxation in Taiwanese patients with metastatic bone pain: a pilot study. Journal of pain and symptom management, 2009. 37(4): p. 754-763.
  12. Holland, B. and M.E. Pokorny, Slow stroke back massage: its effect on patients in a rehabilitation setting. Rehabilitation Nursing, 2001. 26(5): p. 182-186.
  13. Olney, C.M., The effect of therapeutic back massage in hypertensive persons: a preliminary study. Biological research for nursing, 2005. 7(2): p. 98-105.
  14. Erdfelder, E., F. Faul, and A. Buchner, GPOWER: A general power analysis program. Behavior research methods, instruments, & computers, 1996. 28(1): p. 1-11.
  15. Hollis, M. and M.E. Jones, Massage for Therapists. 1988, Elsevier.
  16. Hernandez-Reif, M., et al., High blood pressure and associated symptoms were reduced by massage therapy. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 2000. 4(1): p. 31-38.
  17. Field, T., M. Diego, and M. Hernandez-Reif, Massage therapy research. Developmental Review, 2007. 27(1): p. 75-89.
  18. Buttagat, V., et al., The immediate effects of traditional Thai massage on heart rate variability and stress-related parameters in patients with back pain associated with myofascial trigger points. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies. 15(1): p. 15-23.
  19. Moraska, A., et al., Physiological adjustments to stress measures following massage therapy: a review of the literature. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 7(4): p. 409-418.