New Research Continues to Support Massage for Improving Sleep Quality

It’s National Sleep Awareness Month, and AMTA is sharing the latest research on how massage can improve sleep quality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. report not getting enough rest every day and an estimated 50 to 70 million have chronic or ongoing sleep disorders.1  Explore recent studies on how massage therapy can help improve sleep for various populations including pregnant women, infants and women going through menopause.

Foot Massage for Insomnia and Anxiety in Preeclamptic Pregnant Women

A 2024 study investigated the effects of classical foot massage on insomnia and anxiety levels in preeclamptic pregnant women. Preeclampsia is a serious condition of pregnancy, usually characterized by high blood pressure and severe swelling. This study included seventy-one participants divided into an experimental group receiving foot massages three days a week and a control group receiving no interventions. Results indicated a significant reduction in insomnia and anxiety levels in the experimental group compared to the control group. The findings suggest that classical foot massage can be an effective intervention for alleviating insomnia and anxiety symptoms in preeclamptic pregnant women.2

Parent-led Massage Has a Positive Impact on the Quality of Sleep for Infants

A recent research study examined the impact of parent-led massage on the sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) features of typically developing term-born infants at 4 months. The infants who received routine parent-led massage had distinct functional brain changes versus the control group. The massaged infants exhibited higher sleep spindle spectral power and greater sleep EEG magnitudes, which indicate better quality sleep and potential benefits for early brain development.3

Therapeutic Touch Enhances Sleep Quality in Menopausal Women

One of the first studies to investigate the impact of therapeutic touch on sleep quality and fatigue in menopausal women was recently published. The study involved 48 women (24 in each group), with one group receiving therapeutic touch and the other receiving SHAM therapeutic touch for 10 minutes daily over five consecutive days. Results revealed that therapeutic touch significantly improved sleep quality compared to the control group, as indicated by lower post-test total sleep quality scores.4

“The evidence continues to grow on the efficacy of massage therapy for improving sleep quality,” said Kim Kane-Santos, AMTA National President. “Massage can be a valuable tool in helping alleviate sleep issues without the negative side effects of prescription medication.”

The Importance of Quality Sleep for Your Health

There is no denying that quality sleep is crucial for your overall health and wellness. It facilitates the healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels, helps maintain a healthy balance of hormones and enhances the body’s immune response. Moreover, deep sleep supports proper growth, muscle mass and tissue repair. 5 For millions of restless Americans, massage therapy may lead to a better night’s sleep.

About The American Massage Therapy Association

The American Massage Therapy Association, the most trusted name in massage therapy, is the largest non-profit, professional association serving massage therapists, massage students and massage schools. The association is directed by volunteer leadership and fosters ongoing, direct member-involvement through its 51 chapters. AMTA works to advance the profession through ethics and standards, the promotion of fair and consistent licensing of massage therapists in all states, and public education on the benefits of massage. To find a qualified massage therapist in your area, please visit AMTA’s Find a Massage Therapist Locator Service™.

Research Citations

1. Sleep and Sleep Disorders, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Reviewed September 2022.

2. Ayca Solt Kirca, Nurdilan Sener Cetin.“The effect of classical foot massage on insomnia and anxiety in preeclamptic pregnant women: a randomized controlled study.” 2024 Feb 26;70(2):e20230744. Retrieved from

3. S. Venture, S.R. Mathieson, M. P., O’Sullivan, J. M. O’Toole, V. Livingstone, R. M. Pressler, E. M. Dempsey, D. M. Murray, G. B. Boylan. “Parent-led massage and sleep EEG for term-born infants: A randomized controlled parallel-group study.” Dev Med Child Neurol. 2023 Oct;65(10):1395–1407. Retrieved from

4. Ozlem Yalcinkaya, Ebru Gozuyesil. “The effect of therapeutic touch on sleep quality and fatigue in menopausal women” ScienceDirect. Volume 20, Issue 2, March-April 2024, Pages 222-230. Retrieved from

5. How Sleep Affects Your Health, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Reviewed June 2022.