Positive Effects of Massage Therapy on a Patient with Narcolepsy

Robyn Hill, RMT, Amanda Baskwill, BEd, RMT


Purpose: The purpose of this case report was to investigate the effects of massage therapy on the sleep patterns of a woman with narcolepsy.

Participant: The 23-year-old woman’s primary symptoms included excessive daytime sleepiness and periodic leg movements (PLM), which were associated with her diagnoses of both narcolepsy and cataplexy.

Intervention: Five 45-minute massage therapy treatments were administered over a five-week period. The patient’s sleep patterns were recorded each week before the treatment. A final measurement was recorded in the sixth week. The sleep patterns were monitored using the Leeds Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire, which included ten visual analogue scales.

Results: The results of this case report included an improvement in getting to sleep by 148%, an improvement in quality of sleep by 1100%, an improvement in awake following sleep by 121%, and an improvement in behaviour following wakening by 28% using the Leeds Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire.

Conclusion: This case report suggests that massage therapy had a positive effect on this patient with narcolepsy. Further research is needed to investigate the effects of massage therapy on narcolepsy and sleep patterns.


narcolepsy; sleep patterns; massage therapy; getting to sleep; quality of sleep; awake following sleep; behaviour following wakening

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3822/ijtmb.v6i2.205

International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
ISSN 1916-257X