Georgia CTSA-supported Research Highlighted in New PBS Program

Research supported by the Georgia CTSA Clinical Research Centers (GCRCs) discovered the surprising benefits of Swedish massage. The clinical findings show Swedish massage therapy can reduce depression, anxiety and cancer fatigue. This research is featured in Episode 3 of the new television program “Your Fantastic Mind” premiering on PBS, as reported from Emory news center.

View Emory News Center article

Emory Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport served as the Principal Investigator (PI) in two of the featured studies, “Efficacy of Massage and Touch Therapy for the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder” and “Efficacy of Massage and Touch Therapy for the Treatment of Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors.” This research was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. Rapaport is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine as well as chief of psychiatric services for Emory Healthcare. Through the Emory Brain Health Center based in Atlanta, he has studied the benefits of Swedish massage therapy, giving him knowledge to contribute to PBS’s latest program.

When asked about his findings featured in “Your Fantastic Mind” Rapaport stated, “Swedish massage therapy was clinically and statistically effective in treating patients with generalized anxiety disorder, which is one of the most difficult anxiety disorders to treat. Our informal follow-up found the majority of patients were either symptom-free or only experiencing limited symptoms six to twenty-four months later.”

In addition to his findings relating to anxiety disorder, Rapaport explored the fatigue that accompanies cancer and cancer treatments. Rapaport reported, “Cancer fatigue may be related to a low level of chronic inflammation. With massage therapy, we are seeing a decrease in inflammatory markers associated with these cancer survivors.”

Through this research, Rapaport has been able to discover how beneficial Swedish massage therapy can be for those with certain health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and the fatigue that accompanies cancer and cancer treatments. As these discoveries have now also been shared through PBS’s “Your Fantastic Mind” program, more patients may become aware of this holistic, relaxing way to help deal with their symptoms. 

Georgia CTSA’s multi-site Georgia CTSA Clinical Research Centers (GCRCs) is a multilayered, flexible, and geographically distributed network created to meet the needs of translational and clinical investigators from Emory University, MSM, UGA, Georgia Tech, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (Children’s). The GCRCs offers dedicated space and a variety of resources ranging from core laboratory services to a bionutrition unit to support the research process at a subsidized cost. Clinical sites, including nursing services, are located at Emory University HospitalGrady Memorial HospitalUGAMSMChildren’s, and Emory University Midtown.

The Georgia CTSA is a statewide partnership between Emory, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, and UGA and is one of over 50 in a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards, shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical investigators.