Assessment of the reporting quality of randomised controlled trials of massage

Xuan Zhang, Lin Zhang, Weifeng Xiong, Xihong Wang, Xiaohan Zhou, Chen Zhao, Guihua Tian, Hongcai Shang, Taixiang Wu, Jiangxia Miao, Zhaoxiang Bian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


To assess the reporting quality of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of massage, particularly whether necessary elements related to massage interventions were adequately reported.

Methods  A total of 8 electronic databases were systematically searched for massage RCTs published in English and Chinese from the date of their inception to June 22, 2020. Quality assessment was performed using three instruments, namely the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) 2010 Checklist (37 items), the CONSORT Extension for NPT (Nonpharmacologic Treatments) 2017 checklist (18 items), and a self-designed massage-specific checklist (16 items) which included massage rationale, intervention and control group details. Descriptive statistics were additionally used to analyse the baseline characteristics of included trials.

Results  A total of 2,447 massage RCTs were identified, of which most (96.8%) were distributed in China. For the completeness of CONSORT, NPT Extension, and massage-specific checklists, the average reporting percentages were 50%, 10% and 45%, respectively. Of 68 assessed items in total (exclusion of 3 repeated items on intervention), 42 were poorly presented, including 18 CONSORT items, 15 NPT items, and 9 massage-specific items. Although the overall quality of reporting showed slightly improvement in articles published after 2010, the international (English) journals presented a higher score of the CONSORT and NPT items, while the Chinese journals were associated with the increased score of massage-specific items.

Conclusion  The quality of reporting of published massage RCTs is variable and in need of improvement. Reporting guideline “CONSORT extension for massage” should be developed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number64
Number of pages12
JournalChinese Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • CONSORT Extension
  • Massage
  • Nonpharmacologic treatment
  • Randomised controlled trials (RCTs)
  • Reporting quality
  • Tuina


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