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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Tactile massage and hypnosis as a health promotion for nurses in emergency care-a qualitative study

Fanny Airosa12*, Susanne K Andersson1, Torkel Falkenberg13, Christina Forsberg1, Elisabeth Nordby-Hörnell2, Gunnar Öhlén2 and Tobias Sundberg1

Author Affiliations

1 Unit for Studies of Integrative Health care-Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Nursing, 141 83 Huddinge, Sweden

2 Karolinska University Hospital, Emergency Department, 141 86 Stockholm, Sweden

3 The Vidarinstitutet Research Foundation, 153 91 Järna, Sweden

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11:83  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-83

Published: 1 October 2011



This study explores nursing personnel's experiences and perceptions of receiving tactile massage and hypnosis during a personnel health promotion project. Nursing in a short term emergency ward environment can be emotionally and physically exhausting due to the stressful work environment and the high dependency patient care. A health promotion project integrating tactile massage and hypnosis with conventional physical activities was therefore introduced for nursing personnel working in this setting at a large university hospital in Sweden.


Four semi-structured focus group discussions were conducted with volunteer nursing personnel participants after the health promotion project had been completed. There were 16 participants in the focus groups and there were 57 in the health promotion intervention. The discussions were transcribed verbatim and analysed with qualitative content analysis.


The findings indicated that tactile massage and hypnosis may contribute to reduced levels of stress and pain and increase work ability for some nursing personnel. The sense of well-being obtained in relation to health promotion intervention with tactile massage and hypnosis seemed to have positive implications for both work and leisure. Self-awareness, contentment and self-control may be contributing factors related to engaging in tactile massage and hypnosis that might help nursing personnel understand their patients and colleagues and helped them deal with difficult situations that occurred during their working hours.


The findings indicate that the integration of tactile massage and hypnosis in personnel health promotion may be valuable stress management options in addition to conventional physical activities.

emergency care nursing personnel; health promotion; qualitative content analysis; experience; perceptions; complementary therapies; tactile massage; hypnosis