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Measuring the Feasibility and the Effects of Chair Massage on Pain and Discomfort in the Cardiac Sonographer

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Deborah Engen, Mayo Clinic Identifier:
First received: September 10, 2009
Last updated: January 4, 2012
Last verified: January 2012
The purpose of this study is to determine whether the effects of chair massage and/or chair massage with stretching may reduce musculoskeletal pain and discomfort related symptoms associated with the job duties of a cardiac sonographer.

Condition Intervention
Overuse Injury
Repetitive Strain Injury
Procedure: Massages ± Stretches

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Measuring the Feasibility and the Effects of Chair Massage on Pain and Discomfort in the Cardiac Sonographer - A Pilot Study

Further study details as provided by Mayo Clinic:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Assess the ease and feasibility of providing chair massage therapy in a busy echocardiography exam setting. Compare and contrast the level of pain and discomfort in cardiac sonography staff with three groups over three different time frames. [ Time Frame: 10 Weeks ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Assess the impact on co-workers as massage therapy is provided during the workday and its effects on workflow. [ Time Frame: 10 Weeks ]
  • Compare the level of fatigue, stress, anxiety, and relaxation in cardiac sonography staff in each of the 3-arms of the study. [ Time Frame: 10 Weeks ]

Enrollment: 45
Study Start Date: September 2008
Study Completion Date: January 2009
Primary Completion Date: December 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Massages
Chair massage for 30 minutes once a week.
Procedure: Massages ± Stretches
Chair Massage
Active Comparator: Massages + Stretches
Chair massage for 30 minutes once a week in addition to stretching exercises, to be done twice daily for 20 minutes.
Procedure: Massages ± Stretches
Chair Massage
No Intervention: No Intervention

Detailed Description:

Staff performing echocardiography exams work in a physically demanding environment. The physical and psychosocial demands of the work environment place a significant amount of stress on the physical well being of the employee. The nature of the work involved includes repetitive movements and static holds while applying intense pressure. These compounded by a challenging ergonomic work environment, often leads to physical tension, pain, and fatigue. Staff and patient characteristics, in particular obesity, present greater ergonomic challenges. In this setting, optimal ergonomics can be difficult to achieve. Repetitive actions in an ergonomically challenging environment can have an accumulative effect that can lead to injury.

Massage therapy has been noted to decrease levels of anxiety and fatigue which is essential to maintaining efficient care in a dynamic environment. Repetitive use, typically leads to shortened, tight muscles that fatigue over time. Once the massage therapy has released the connective tissue tension and restored muscle imbalances, exercise focused on core, trunk strength and those muscles which oppose the repetitively used muscles can further assist the therapeutic benefits of massage.

The cardiac sonographer is usually sitting and reaching forward or to the side, and the musculoskeletal imbalances show up primarily superior to the hips. Massage Therapy research for alleviating musculoskeletal symptoms has been with the use of table massage whereas chair massage research has focused on gaining physiological benefits. Chair massage therapy impacts the head, back, neck shoulders, arms and hands so does impact the areas of musculoskeletal imbalance of the cardiac sonographer. In addition, a massage chair is easy to set up, does not need a great deal of space, and can be provided in semi-private area, as the participant remains clothed. Chair massage literature to date has focused more on physiological responses and albeit positive, not as much on musculoskeletal responses.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Cardiac Sonographer that, per their job descriptions, are performing echocardiography exams during the weeks of the massage therapy pilot study.
  • Men and Women age 18-65 able to give informed consent.
  • Able to speak and understand English
  • 8-hour per day shift schedule, Monday through Friday

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Individuals that decline to participate in the study.
  • Individuals being treated for an acute musculoskeletal symptom.
  • Individuals currently on work restrictions.
  • Undergoing treatments for malignancy
  • Pregnancy (due to this being chair massage)
  • Recent head, neck, shoulder or back surgeries
  • Pins or joint fusion of the head or neck
  • Current sinus infections, earaches, or vascular migraines
  • Students
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00975026

United States, Minnesota
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota, United States, 55905
Sponsors and Collaborators
Mayo Clinic
Principal Investigator: Deborah J. Engen, O.T. Mayo Clinic
  More Information

Responsible Party: Deborah Engen, Principal Investigator, Mayo Clinic Identifier: NCT00975026     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 08-005517
Study First Received: September 10, 2009
Last Updated: January 4, 2012

Keywords provided by Mayo Clinic:
Chair Massage
Stretching Exercises
Cardiac Sonographer

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Wounds and Injuries
Cumulative Trauma Disorders
Sprains and Strains processed this record on April 28, 2017