Effects of Thai Traditional Massage on Onset and Duration of First Stage of Labor: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Main Article Content

Atchara Chaichan
Sasitorn Phumdoung


                Various methods of labor induction are recommended for stimulating the onset of labor. However, these methods produce adverse effects. Massage is a safe alternative method for labor induction and shortens the duration of labor, as it can promote oxytocin release. Thus, a randomized controlled trial with single-blind technique was used to investigate the effects of Thai traditional massage on the onset and duration of the first stage labor. Participants were primiparous women. A minimized randomization program was used to assign the participants into experimental or control groups. The experimental group (n = 24) received 40 minutes of Thai traditional massage once a week when they reached 37 weeks of gestation until either reaching 40 weeks or starting labor onset. The control group (n = 27) received usual care. The period of the onset of labor was measured by the duration in hour from 37 weeks of gestation to the starting of regular uterine contractions at least 2-3 times per hour, and the duration of first stage of labor was measured by the period in hour start from onset of labor to the full cervical dilation (10 centimeter). Descriptive statistic, chi-square tests, and independent t-tests were used to analyze the data.

               The results showed that applying Thai traditional massage once a week is not sufficient for inducing the onset of labor. However, the duration of first stage labor in experimental group was significantly shorter than control group. Thus, nurses or pregnant woman’s husband and relatives could be trained to apply Thai traditional massage to lower duration of labor.

Article Details

How to Cite
Chaichan A, Phumdoung S. Effects of Thai Traditional Massage on Onset and Duration of First Stage of Labor: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PRIJNR [Internet]. 2021 Mar. 27 [cited 2022 Aug. 8];25(2):285-97. Available from: https://he02.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/PRIJNR/article/view/244879
Original paper


Cunningham FG, Leveno KJ, Bloom SL, Dashe JS, Hoffman BL, Casey BM, et al. Williams obstetrics. 25th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2020 Aug 13]. Available from: http://accessmedicine. nhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=1918

Bishnoi S, Bishnoi R, Bora S. To evaluate the maternal & fetal complications and outcomes in post-term pregnancy: an institutional based study. J Med Sci Clinic Res. 2018;6(6):650-5. doi:10.18535/jmscr/v6i6.108.

Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJ, Driscoll AK, Mathews TJ. Births: final data for 2015. National vital statistics reports: from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System. 2017;66(1):1-70.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Chiang Mai University; Maternal- Fetal Medicine: annual report 2014 [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2020 Jul 18]. Available from: https://w1.med.cmu.ac.th/obgyn/images/stories/ MFM/Statistics/MFM14.pdf (in Thai)

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Chiang Mai University; Maternal- Fetal Medicine: annual report 2015 [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2020 Jul 18]. Available from: https://w1.med.cmu.ac.th/obgyn/images/stories/ MFM/Statistics/MFM15.pdf (in Thai)

Thangarajah F, Scheufen P, Kirn V, Mallmann P. Induction of labour in late and postterm pregnancies and its impact on maternal and neonatal outcome. Geb Fra. 2016; 76(7):793-8. doi:10.1055/s-0042-107672.

Agushybana F. Influence of husband support on complication during pregnancy and childbirth in Indonesia. J Health Res. 2016;30(4):249-55. doi:10.14456/jhr.2016.34.

World Health Organization (WHO) (2018). WHO recommendations on induction of labor for women beyond 41 weeks of gestation [Internet]. [cited 2020 Jul 15]. Available from: https://extranet.who.int/rhl/topics/ preconception-pregnancy-childbirth-and-postpartumcare/induction-labour/who-recommendation-inductionlabour-women-beyond-41-weeks-gestation

Alfirevic Z, Keeney E, Dowswell T, Welton NJ, Medley N, Dias S, et al. Which method is best for the induction of labour? A systematic review, network meta-analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis. Health Technol Asses. 2016;20(65):1-584. doi:10.3310/Hta20650.

Penfield CA, Wing DA. Labor induction techniques: which is the best?. Obstet Gynecol Clin N Am. 2017;44(4):567- 82. doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2017.08.011.

Morhenn V, Beavin LE, Zak PJ. Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans. Altern Ther Health Med. 2012;18(6):11-8.

Rapaport MH, Schettler P, Bresee CA. Preliminary study of the effects of repeated massage on hypothalamic– pituitary–adrenal and immune function in healthy individuals: a study of mechanisms of action and dosage. J Altern Complement Med. 2012;18(8):789-97. doi:10.1089/ acm.2011.0071.

Tsuji S, Yuhi T, Furuhara K, Ohta S, Shimizu Y, Higashida H. Salivary oxytocin concentrations in seven boys with autism spectrum disorder received massage from their mothers: a pilot study. Front Psychiatry. 2015;6(58):1-4. doi:10.3389/Fpsyt.2015.00058.

Vannuccini S, Bocchi C, Severi FM, Challis JR, Petraglia F. Endocrinology of human parturition. Ann Endocrinol. 2016;77(2):105-13. doi:10.1016/j.ando.2016.04.025.

Phumdoung, S. Obstetrics during labor. 4th ed. Songkhla: Charnmoung; 2016 (in Thai).

Onyiapat J-l, Okafor C, Okoronkwo I, Anarado A, Chukwukelu E, Nwaneri A, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine use: results from a descriptive study of pregnant women in Udi local government area of Enugu state, Nigeria. BMC Complem Altern. 2017;17(1):189-95.

Bolbol-haghighi N, Masoumi SZ, Kazemi F. Effect of massage therapy on duration of labour: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Diagn Res. 2016;10(4):12-5. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2016/17447.7688.

Inkaew S. Effect of Thai traditional massage on labour pain [Master’s thesis]. Songkhla: Graduate School, Prince of Songkla University; 2012 (in Thai).

Matvises P. The comparative an effect of court-type Thai traditional massage care versus sacrum massage care to reduce labor pain and duration of labor among primigravida in the first stage of labor [Master’s thesis]. Mahasarakham: Graduate School, Mahasarakham University; 2016 (in Thai).

Sananpanichkul P, Sawadhichai C, Leaungsomnapa Y, Yapanya P. Possible role of court-type Thai traditional massage during parturition: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2019;12(1),23-8.

MacSween A, Lorrimer S, Schaik PV, Holmes M, Wersch AV. A randomized crossover trial comparing Thai and Swedish massage for fatigue and depleted energy. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2018;22(3):817-28. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt. 2017.09.014.

Mei L, Miao X, Chen H, Huang X, Zheng G. Effectiveness of Chinese hand massage on anxiety among patients awaiting coronary angiography: a randomized controlled trial. J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2017;32(2):196-203. doi:10.1097/ JCN.0000000000000309.

Wang M, Liu L, Zhang CS, Liao Z, Jing X, Fishers M, et al. Mechanism of traditional Chinese medicine in treating knee osteoarthritis. J Pain Res. 2020;13:1421-9. doi:10.2147/JPR.S247827.

Thantiphidok Y, Jaidee S. Textbook of Thai massage. Volume 1. 5th ed. Bangkok: Health & Development Foundation; 2016 (in Thai).

Bennett S, Bennett MJ, Chatchawan U, Jenjaiwit P, Pantumethakul R, Kunhasura S, et al. Acute effects of traditional Thai massage on cortisol levels, arterial blood pressure and stress perception in academic stress condition: a single blind randomised controlled trial. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2016;20(2):286-92. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.10.005.

Sripongngam T, Eungpinichpong W, Sirivongs D, Kanpittaya J, Tangvoraphonkchai K, Chanaboon S. Immediate effects of traditional Thai massage on psychological stress as indicated by salivary alpha-amylase levels in healthy persons. Med Sci Monit Basic Res. 2015;21:216-21. doi:10.12659/ MSMBR.894343.

Hartati R, Rahayu AOS, Tanberika FS, Islami AP. Increasing the comfortable feel for pregnant women through the endorphin massage. J Phys Conf Ser. 2019;1351(1):1-6.

Chatchawan U, Thinkhamrop B, Kharmwan S, Knowles J, Eungpinichpong W. Effectiveness of traditional Thai massage versus Swedish massage among patients with back pain associated with myofascial trigger points. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2005;9(4):298-309. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2005. 02.001.

Baljon KJ, Romli MH, Ismail AH, Khuan L, Chew BH. Effectiveness of breathing exercises, foot reflexology and back massage (BRM) on labour pain, anxiety, duration, satisfaction, stress hormones and newborn outcomes among primigravidae during the first stage of labour in Saudi Arabia: a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Br Med J. 2020;10(6):1-13. doi:10.1136/bmjopen2019-033844.

Dossey BM. Nursing: holistic, integral, and integrativelocal to global. In Barrere CC, Helming MB, Shields DA, Avino K, editors. Holistic nursing: a handbook for practice. 7th ed. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2016, pp. 3-52.

Tangtrongchitr P. Original Wat Po massage’s procedure in brief. Bangkok: [publisher unknown]; 2005 (in Thai).

Hosseini E, Asadi N, Zareei F. Effect of massage therapy on labor progress and plasma levels of cortisol in the active stage of first labor. Zahedan J Res Med Sci. 2013;15(9): 35-8.

Marquette GP, Hutcheon JA, Lee L. Predicting the spontaneous onset of labour in post-date pregnancies: a population-based retrospective cohort study. J Obstet Gynecol Can. 2014; 36(5):391-9. doi:10.1016/S1701-2163(15)30584-3.

Olokor OE, Onakewhor JU, Aderoba AK. Determinants and outcome of fetal macrosomia in a Nigerian tertiary hospital. Niger Med J. 2015;56(6):411-5. doi:10.4103/0300- 1652.171622.

Roy AG, Kathaley MH. Comparison of estimation of fetal weight by clinical method, ultrasonography and its correlation with actual birth weight in term pregnancy. MVP J Med Sci. 2018;5(1):75-81.

Zhang L, Troendle J, Branch DW, Hoffman M, Yu J, Zhou L, et al. The expected labor progression after labor augmentation with oxytocin: a retrospective cohort study. PLOS ONE. 2018;13(10):1-9. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205735.

Praraththajariya K. The identity of cultural arts: Thai massage at Wat Pho to communicate the English materials for tourism. Int J Cult Hist. 2016;2(4):154-8. doi:10.18178/ijch. 2016.2.4.055.

Priscilla K, Santha NJ. Massage therapy- complementary and alternative therapeutic approach. Asian J Nur Edu and Research. 2014;4(4):516-9.

Cappellen PV, Way BM, Isgett SF, Fredrickson BL. Effects of oxytocin administration on spirituality and emotional responses to meditation. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016; 11(10):1579-87.doi:10.1093/scan/nsw078.

Gallo RBS, Santana LS, Ferreira CHJ, Marcolin AC, Polineto OB, Duarte G, et al. Massage reduced severity of pain during labour: a randomized trial. J Physiother. 2013; 59(2):109-16. doi:10.1016/S1836-9553(13)70163-2.