ESPE Abstracts (2014) 82 P-D-3-3-802

The Effects of Rhythmical Massage Therapy and Heart Rate Variability-Biofeedback on Primary Dysmenorrhea a Qualitative Study

Anna Böninga, Aurelia Karutza, Jan Vagedesa,c, Bettina Bergerb & David Martina


aTübingen University Children’s Hospital, Tübingen, Germany; bChair of Medical Theory, Integrative and Anthroposophic Medicine, University Witten/Herdecke, Witten/Herdecke, Germany; cARCIM-Institute Filderklinik, Filderstadt, Germany


Aim: This study investigated rhythmical massage therapy (RMT) and heart rate variability-biofeedback (HRV) to treat dysmenorrhea.

Methods: As a part of a randomized controlled trial, 60 patients were allocated to one of the two intervention groups or the crossover control group. For the qualitative study, before and after the 3-month intervention, the women drew their pain into a body silhouette. With the aid of these drawings, half-structured interviews were conducted, in which the patients described their body perceptions and effects of the treatment. All interviews were audio-recorded and analyzed with qualitative methods using the software MAXQDA.

Results: Dysmenorrhea can be associated with marked functional and psychological stress. RMT and HRV can reduce the pain and enable the women to sense their body in a more differentiated way. They can thereby understand the correlations between their symptoms and their cycle and achieve higher self-awareness. The women can feel a better regulation of the body warmth and have fewer limitations in their daily life. Relief on these different levels can result in a better quality of life.

Conclusions: The stress of the affected women through dysmenorrhea needs to be taken more seriously than is often done. RMT and HRV can be very helpful and without side effects. The analysis also shows the importance of the emotional condition.

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