Massage Therapy for Lyme Disease Symptoms: a Prospective Case Study

  • Meghan J. Thomason, BA, MT University of Wisconsin-Stout
  • Christopher A. Moyer, PhD University of Wisconsin-Stout
Keywords: Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, affect, massage therapy, prospective case study, pain, concentration, fatigu, arthritis, quasi-experiment


Introduction: To study the effects of massage therapy (MT) on Lyme disease (LD) symptoms and affect. Methods: A 21-year-old female college student previously diagnosed with LD was recruited for a prospective case study that incorporated alternating periods of treatment and non-treatment across 65 days. Her self-reported symptoms of pain, fatigue, and impairment of concentration were assessed by means of a daily diary with corresponding visual analog scales. Immediate effects of MT on affect were assessed by completion of the Positive and Negative Affect Scales before and after each treatment session. Results: LD symptoms decreased during treatment periods and increased during non-treatment periods. Positive affect was increased at every MT session. Conclusions: MT is a promising treatment for the symptoms pain, fatigue, and impaired concentration associated with LD. In addition, MT reliably increased positive affect. Massage therapists should consider using light-to-medium pressure MT for treatment of persons who present with a similar pattern of LD symptoms, and further research with this population is warranted.

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How to Cite
Thomason, BA, MT, M. J., & Moyer, PhD, C. A. (2012). Massage Therapy for Lyme Disease Symptoms: a Prospective Case Study. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork Research Education &Amp; Practice, 5(4), 9–14.