Impact of Massage Therapy on Well-Being for Parents of Children Recovering from Traumatic Injury or Illness

Project Information

Principal Investigator: Natalie Williams
Co-Principal Investigator: Paul Springer, Judy Burnfield
Funding Agency: The Massage Therapy Foundation
Award Date:
Theme: Social-Emotional & Behavioral Health
Project URL: N/A

For more information please contact Natalie Williams at


High levels of parental distress are common during inpatient pediatric rehabilitation, and if not addressed, adversely impact family functioning and children’s therapy progress. This study will evaluate therapeutic massage as a tool to improve the well-being of parents in the inpatient pediatric rehabilitation environment by reducing parent stress, decreasing anxiety, and improving sleep.

The present study is the first empirical investigation of the benefits of massage for caregivers in the pediatric rehabilitation context. It aims to: 

  1. Determine the impact of dosage of massage therapy on parents’ psychological well-being.
  2. Determine the impact of therapeutic massage on parents' stress reactivity. 
  3. Determine the treatment acceptability of the massage intervention. 
The study’s sample includes parents of 40 children receiving inpatient rehabilitation for severe injury or illness at Alexis Verzal Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. It will use a two-group, pre-post, quasi-experimental design.