Foot Massage, Touch, and Presence in Decreasing Anxiety during a Magnetic Resonance Imaging: A Feasibility Study

Rajni Parmar, Barbara B. Brewer, Laura A. Szalacha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of the study was to determine (1) recruitment feasibility; (2) intervention adherence; (3) intervention acceptability; and (4) the preliminary effects of touch or foot massage interventions on anxiety during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Design: A quasi-experimental design was used. Intervention: Foot massage and touch were the intervention groups and "presence" was the control group. Setting: The study was conducted at the Center for Neurosciences, a freestanding facility, in southern Arizona. Participants: The sample (N = 60) was predominantly Caucasian (58.3%), married (55%), and college educated (43.3%). There were 39 females and 21 males. Fifty-Three percent of the participants had an MRI head scan. Outcome measures: Recruitment feasibility was the percentage of participants enrolled out of those screened. Adherence to foot massage and touch interventions was measured by the researcher's ability to apply full intervention for 20 min. Four factors measured participants' acceptance of the interventions as follows: (1) comfort; (2) acceptability of the length of the treatment; (3) perception of effectiveness; and (4) recommendation of treatment as part of routine MRI care. The MRI technologists' acceptability was measured by whether the intervention: (1) disrupted the workflow and (2) affected the length of the scan. State anxiety was assessed verbally by a single 10-point Likert type item. Results: Recruitment feasibility was 78.2%. There were no barriers to the intervention protocol for 91.6% participants. The overall mean value of perceived effectiveness was 8.53, SD = 2.4 on a 10-point Likert type question. There was a significant difference among the three groups in terms of perceived effectiveness of the intervention F(2, 57) = 15.19, p < 0.001. Multilevel modeling documented that the foot massage intervention was a significant predictor of decreasing anxiety (β =-1.35, SE = 0.63, p < 0.01). Conclusion: The use of foot massage or touch is feasible, acceptable by patients and technologists, and the use of foot massage was associated with lower state anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-275
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • MRI
  • anxiety
  • massage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Foot Massage, Touch, and Presence in Decreasing Anxiety during a Magnetic Resonance Imaging: A Feasibility Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this