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REST: Reducing End-of-Life Symptoms With Touch

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Identifier:
First received: July 18, 2003
Last updated: January 23, 2008
Last verified: January 2008

July 18, 2003
January 23, 2008
November 2003
March 2007   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Decreased pain
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00065195 on Archive Site
  • Less total analgesic medication use.
  • Improved quality of life
  • Decreased physical symptom distress
  • Decreased emotional symptom distress
Same as current
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REST: Reducing End-of-Life Symptoms With Touch
Efficacy of Massage at the End of Life
The purpose of this study is to determine whether massage therapy is effective in reducing pain and distress and improving quality of life among cancer patients at life's end.

Relieving physical and emotional symptoms is a key component of end-of-life care. Despite care, terminally ill patients are still significantly burdened by unrelieved symptoms. Therapies that have potential to alleviate these symptoms deserve thorough investigation.

This study will last 3 weeks. Participants in this study will be randomly assigned to receive six sessions of either moving or nonmoving touch therapy, in addition to usual hospice care, for 2 weeks. Moving touch therapy consists of massage therapy in which a trained therapist continually touches a person's body. The nonmoving touch therapy will be conducted by volunteers who have no previous experience in massage. Participants in this group will have a volunteer rub specific body parts for 3-minute intervals. Because current evidence suggests that thoughts of healing may influence the effectiveness of touch therapy, volunteers in the nonmoving therapy group will distract their minds to avoid thinking of healing processes. In both groups, the person administering the touch therapy will note all interruptions during a session, including talk, music, and television. Interviews about medication use, pain, and quality of life will be used to assess participants; these interviews will be conducted at study start, immediately before and after each therapy session, and at Weeks 1, 2, and 3.

Phase 2
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind
Primary Purpose: Treatment
  • Neoplasms
  • Pain
  • Procedure: Moving touch therapy
  • Procedure: Nonmoving touch therapy
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*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
March 2007
March 2007   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Advanced cancer, with at least moderate pain 1 week prior to study entry
  • Life expectancy of at least 3 weeks
  • Able to speak English

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Massage therapy within 1 month prior to study entry
  • Current use of anticoagulants
  • Platelet count less than 10,000
  • Unstable spine that would interfere with touch therapy
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
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National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Not Provided
Principal Investigator: Jean S. Kutner, MD University of Colorado, Denver
Principal Investigator: Marlaine Smith, RN, PhD University of Colorado, Denver
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
January 2008

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP