Title

Impact of Massage Therapy on Health Outcomes Among Orphaned Infants in Ecuador: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Family & Community Health

Volume

29

Issue

4

Publisher

Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins

Publication Date

2006

First Page

314

Last Page

319

Abstract

Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among infants and young children in the developing world. This project investigated whether therapeutic infant massage could reduce diarrheal episodes and decrease overall illness of infants. Infants living in 2 orphanages in Quito, Ecuador, were matched by age and randomly assigned to an experimental or a control condition. The experimental group received an intervention, daily infant massage therapy by orphanage staff or volunteers, which lasted an average of 53 days, and symptoms of illness data were documented daily by volunteers in the orphanages. Results indicated that control group infants had a 50% greater risk of having diarrhea than experimental infants (rate ratio [RR] = 1.54, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.18, 2.03, P < 0.001). Control group infants were also 11% more likely than experimental infants to experience illness of any kind (RR = 1.11, 95% CI = 0.96, 1.28, P = 0.17). The implications for the use of therapeutic infant massage, a remarkably inexpensive intervention, are discussed, and the need for further research is highlighted.

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