Effects of self-administred exercises based on Tuina techniques on musculoskeletal disorders of professional musicians: a randomized controlled trial



Musicians are frequently affected by playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMD). Common solutions used by Western medicine to treat musculoskeletal pain include rehabilitation programs and drugs, but their results are sometimes disappointing.



To study the effects of self-administered exercises based on Tuina techniques on the pain intensity caused by PRMD of professional orchestra musicians, using numeric visual scale (NVS).


Design, setting, participants and interventions

We performed a prospective, controlled, single-blinded, randomized study with musicians suffering from PRMD. Participating musicians were randomly distributed into the experimental (n = 39) and the control (n = 30) groups. After an individual diagnostic assessment, specific Tuina self-administered exercises were developed and taught to the participants. Musicians were instructed to repeat the exercises every day for 3 weeks.


Main outcome measures

Pain intensity was measured by NVS before the intervention and after 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20 d of treatment. The procedure was the same for the control group, however the Tuina exercises were executed in points away from the commonly-used acupuncture points.



In the treatment group, but not the control group, pain intensity was significantly reduced on days 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20.



The results obtained are consistent with the hypothesis that self-administered exercises based on Tuina techniques could help professional musicians controlling the pain caused by PRMD. Although our results are very promising, further studies are needed employing a larger sample size and double blinding designs.


Keywords: Tuina, musculoskeletal disorders, professional orchestra musicians, randomized controlled trial


Authors: Cláudia Maria Sousa (1), Daniela Coimbra (2), Jorge Machado (1), Henry J. Greten (1,3,4)

1. Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto, 4099-030 Porto, Portugal

2. Porto Polytechnic Institute, Superior School of Music and Performing Arts, 4000-035 Porto, Portugal

3. German Society of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 69126 Heidelberg, Germany

4. Heidelberg School of Chinese Medicine, 69126 Heidelberg, Germany

Year 2015
Type Journal Article with peer review
Publication Journal of Integrative Medicine, 13(5)
Pages 314-318
Publisher Elsevier (Singapore)
ISBN / ISSN ISSN: 2095-4964
Language English