Massage therapy for the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Shu Cheng Chen, Branda Yee Man Yu, Lorna Kwai Ping Suen, Juan Yu, Fiona Yan Yee Ho, Jun Jun Yang, Wing Fai Yeung

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To summarize the current evidence on the effects and safety of massage therapy for the treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents. Method: A systematic review of 8 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 3 case series studies was conducted with a meta-analysis of 4 of the RCTs. Results: Pooled analysis showed that massage produced more improvement in ADHD symptoms in terms of effective rate compared to Ritalin (risk ratio: 1.39, 95%CI: 1.16 – 1.66; P = 0.0004). Individual RCTs suggested that massage was differed significantly from waitlist control in improving the conditions of anxious–passive (mean difference: −11.7; 95%CI [−17.84, −5.56]; P = 0.0002), and asocial behavior (mean difference = − 8.60; 95%CI [−15.87, −1.33]; P = 0.02). Conclusion: Evidence suggests that massage therapy is beneficial for treating ADHD in children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-399
Number of pages11
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • ADHD
  • Massage
  • Meta-analysis
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing

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