Are massage parameters well reported in clinical trials? A systematic review

Roberto Rodrigues Bandeira Tosta Maciel, Kelly Lima, Bruno Cesar Ferreira


INTRODUCTION: Lumbar and cervical spine pains are one of the biggest health problems in modern society. Among the physical resources aimed at reducing the perception of pain in the spine, the therapeutic massage stands out. Following the principles of good clinical practice, it is expected that the techniques performed can be reproducible. Objectives: To investigate, through an initial exploration of the question, how appropriate is the description of the physiotherapy technique in randomized controlled trials of spinal massage. METHODS: An electronic search strategy was carried out on Medline through Pubmed. The search was restricted to the literature in English and Portuguese. We included Randomized Clinical Trials whose therapeutic massage was the main intervention performed in the spine. The parameters evaluated were: 1) pressure of manipulation, 2) direction of movements, 3) velocity of movements, 4) rhythm of movements, 5) frequency of movements and 6) duration of sessions. Twelve studies were included in this critical review of the evidence. Most of the studies did not report or report in a dubious manner, the pressure of manipulation, velocity of movements and rhythm of movements. Only 66% (n = 8) of the studies adequately reported the direction of movement. CONCLUSION: Physiotherapy techniques for spinal massage are not usually adequately described in randomized controlled trials. We suggest the improvement of reports of randomized clinical trials in the field of manual therapy.


Evidence-based practice. Guideline adherence. Massage.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Roberto Rodrigues Bandeira Tosta Maciel, Kelly Lima, Bruno Cesar Ferreira

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Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare | ISSN 2675-021X

Updated 01/03/2020

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