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Short- and long-term effects of tactile massage on salivary cortisol concentrations in Parkinsons disease: a randomised controlled pilot study
Skaraborg Hospital, Skövde, Sweden .
Ryhov Hospital, Jönköping and Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.
Swedish Parkinson Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden .
Skaraborg Hospital, Skövde, Sweden .
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2013 (English)In: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, ISSN 1472-6882, Vol. 13, no 357Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder with limited knowledge about the normal function and effects of non-pharmacological therapies on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The aim of the study was to analyse the basal diurnal and total secretion of salivary cortisol in short- and long-term aspects of tactile massage (TM).


Design: Prospective, Controlled and Randomised Multicentre Trial.Setting and interventions: Forty-five women and men, aged 50-79 years, were recruited. Twenty-nine of them were blindly randomised to tactile massage (TM) and 16 of them to the control group, rest to music (RTM). Ten interventions were given during 8 weeks followed by a 26 weeks of follow up. Salivary cortisol was collected at 8 am, 1 pm, 8 pm, and 8 am the next day, on five occasions. With the first and eighth interventions, it was collected immediately before and after intervention.Main outcome measures: The primary aim was to assess and compare cortisol concentrations before and immediately after intervention and also during the follow-up period. The secondary aim was to assess the impact of age, gender, body mass index (BMI), duration and severity of PD, effects of interventional time-point of the day, and levodopa doses on cortisol concentration.


The median cortisol concentrations for all participants were 16.0, 5.8, 2.8, and 14.0 nmol/L at baseline, later reproduced four times without significant differences. Cortisol concentrations decreased significantly after TM intervention but no change in diurnal salivary cortisol pattern was found. The findings of reduced salivary cortisol concentrations immediately after the interventions are in agreement with previous studies. However, there was no significant difference between the TM and control groups. There were no significant correlations between cortisol concentrations and age, gender, BMI, time-point for intervention, time interval between anti-parkinson pharmacy intake and sampling, levodopa doses, duration, or severity of PD.


Diurnal salivary cortisol rhythm was normal. Salivary cortisol concentrations were significantly reduced after the TM intervention and after RTM, but there were no significant differences between the groups and no sustained long-term effect. No associations were seen between salivary cortisol concentration and clinical and/or pharmacological characteristics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2013. Vol. 13, no 357
Keyword [en]
Circadian rhythm; Complementary therapies; Cortisol; Massage; Parkinson disease; Stress
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-105593DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-357ISI: 000332207800001PubMedID: 24330473OAI: diva2:708698
Available from: 2014-03-28 Created: 2014-03-27 Last updated: 2014-04-09Bibliographically approved

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Fall, Per-Arne
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GeriatricFaculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Geriatric Medicine in Linköping
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