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Sao Paulo Medical Journal

Print version ISSN 1516-3180On-line version ISSN 1806-9460


FOGACA, Monalisa de Cássia et al. Salivary cortisol as an indicator of adrenocortical function in healthy infants, using massage therapy. Sao Paulo Med. J. [online]. 2005, vol.123, n.5, pp.215-218. ISSN 1516-3180.

CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE: The evaluation of adrenocortical function with the use of therapeutic massage has been little studied in Brazil. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the salivary cortisol levels before and after Shantala massage therapy on healthy infants. DESIGN AND SETTING: Prospective case series, in a public nursery, in São Paulo. METHODS: Saliva was obtained from 11 infants at the times of 8:00-9:00 a.m. and 4:00-5:00 p.m. in a nursery and 9:00-10:00 p.m. at home. They received a 15-minute therapeutic massage on two consecutive days, and saliva was collected before and after the massage. The procedure was repeated after a one-week interval. Cortisol values (intra-assay < 5%; inter-assay < 10%) at different times of the day were compared by ANOVA. RESULTS: The mean cortisol values (nmol/l ± SD) on the first day were: morning (M) = 14.1 ± 5.7, afternoon (A) = 8.3 ± 2.7, night (N) = 3.3 ± 1.1; after two consecutive days of therapeutic massage: M = 22.3 ± 13.5, A = 13.4 ± 6.0, N = 5.8 ± 3.5; after a one-week interval: M = 15.8 ± 7.7, A = 14.3 ± 7.7, N = 3.4 ± 2.0. CONCLUSION: There was a modification in the salivary cortisol values following massage, thus reflecting possible adaptation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Keywords : Pituitary-adrenal system; Massage; Infant; Circadian rhythm; Stress.

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