Inner power, physical strength and existential well-being in daily life: relatives' experiences of receiving soft tissue massage in palliative home care

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim and objectives. This article explores relatives' experiences of receiving soft tissue massage as a support supplement while caring for a dying family member at home. Background. In palliative home care, relatives play an important role as carers to seriously ill and dying family members. To improve their quality of life, different support strategies are of importance. Complementary methods, such as soft tissue massage have become an appreciated supplement for these patients. However, only few studies focus on relatives experiences of receiving soft tissue massage as a supplemental support. Design. Qualitative design Method. Nineteen relatives received soft tissue massage (hand or foot) nine times (25 minutes) in their homes. Open-ended semi-structured tape-recorded interviews were conducted once per relative after the nine times of massage, using qualitative content analysis. Results. Soft tissue massage gave the relatives' feelings of 'being cared for', 'body vitality' and 'peace of mind'. For a while, they put worries of daily life aside as they just experienced 'being'. During massage, it became apparent that body and mind is constituted of an indestructible completeness. The overarching theme was 'inner power, physical strength and existential well-being in their daily lives'. Conclusion. All relatives experienced soft tissue massage positively, although they were under considerable stress. Soft tissue massage could be an option to comfort and support relatives in palliative home care. Relevance to clinical practice. In palliative nursing care, soft tissue massage could present a worthy supplement in supporting caring relatives.


  • Berit Cronfalk
  • Peter Strang
  • Britt-Marie Ternestedt
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing


  • relatives, home care, palliative, nursing, massage, complementary support, family support
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2225-2233
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: The Vårdal Institute (016540000)