Massage Therapy in Management of Occupational Stress in Emergency Medical Services Staffs: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Mahdi Mahdizadeh, BSc, Ali Ansari Jaberi, MSc, Tayebeh Negahban Bonabi, PhD


Background: Results of various studies indicate that emergency medical service (EMS) staff suf-fer from occupational stress that adversely affects their quality of life and their care quality.

Purpose: This study aimed at determining the ef-fect of massage on occupational stress experienced by emergency medical service staff.
Setting: Prehospital emergency medical services stations of a city in the southwest of Iran.

Participants: A total of 58 members of staff of the emergency medical services, working in prehospi-tal emergency medical services stations.
Research Design: In this randomized controlled trial, a total of 58 EMS staff were selected from prehospital EMS stations, according to inclusion and exclusion criteria, and then assigned in two groups (29 in massage and 29 in control group) randomly by the minimization method. The inter-vention group received Swedish massage, twice a week for four weeks in the morning after the end of the work shift. Each massage session lasted 20–25 minutes. Subjects in the control group received no intervention. The level of occupational stress of the two groups was measured under the same condi-tions before and after the intervention by using the expanded nurses’ occupational stress scale (ENSS). Data were analyzed with the SPSS16 software by using the chi-squared test, paired and independent-sample t tests, one-way ANCOVA. P value < .05 was considered as the level of significance.

Results: The mean and SD of total occupational stress scores in the control group was 114.41±30.11 in pretest and reach to 112.58± 30.62 in posttest stage. Also the mean and SD of total occupa-tional stress scores in the intervention group was 130.20±26.45 in pretest and reach to 110.41±21.75 in posttest stage. A one-way ANCOVA showed that there is a significant effect of massage on EMS staff’s occupational stress level after controlling for pretest score (p = .001).

Conclusions: The training and the application of massage therapy can serve as an effective method in reducing occupational stress in emergency medical centers. 


complementary medicine; emergency medical services; massage therapy; occupational stress; job stress

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International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
ISSN 1916-257X