Scientific article
Open access

Is massage a legitimate part of nursing care ? A qualitative study

Published inPloS one, vol. 18, no. 2, e0281078
Publication date2023
First online date2023-02-27

Introduction: The use of massage therapy has received increased attention in the treatment of chronic pain. However, barriers can hinder its use in nursing care. This study uses a qualitative methodology to explore professionals' experiences regarding touch massage (TM) and identify barriers and facilitators for the implementation of this intervention.

Materials and methods: This study is part of a larger research program aimed at investigating the impact of TM on the experiences of patients with chronic pain hospitalized in two units of an internal medicine rehabilitation ward. Health care professionals (HCPs) were trained either to provide TM or to use of a massage-machine device according to their units. At the end of the trial, two focus groups were conducted with HCPs from each unit who took part in the training and agreed to discuss their experience: 10 caregivers from the TM group and 6 from the machine group. The focus group discussions were tape-recorded, transcribed and analyzed using thematic content analysis.

Results: Five themes emerged from thematic content analysis: perceived impact on patients, HCPs' affective and cognitive experiences, patient-professionals relationships, organizational tensions, and conceptual tensions. Overall, the HCPs reported better general outcomes with TM than with the machine. They described positive effects on patients, HCPs, and their relationships. Regarding interventions' implementation, the HCPs reported organizational barriers such as patients' case complexity, work overload, and lack of time. Conceptual barriers such as ambivalence around the legitimacy of TM in nursing care were reported. TM was often described as a pleasure care that was considered a complementary approach and was overlooked despite its perceived benefits.

Conclusion: Despite the perceived benefits of TM reported by the HCPs, ambivalence arose around the legitimacy of this intervention. This result emphasizes the importance of changing HCPs' attitudes regarding a given intervention to facilitate its implementation.

  • Humans
  • Chronic Pain
  • Qualitative Research
  • Massage
  • Internal Medicine
  • Nursing Care
Citation (ISO format)
DA ROCHA RODRIGUES, Gora et al. Is massage a legitimate part of nursing care ? A qualitative study. In: PloS one, 2023, vol. 18, n° 2, p. e0281078. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281078
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1932-6203

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