Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Research Abstract and Commentary: Aromatherapy Massage

Effectiveness of Aromatherapy Massage in the Management of Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Cancer: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial

Wilkinson SM, Love SB, Westcombe AM, Gambles MA, Burgess CC, Cargill A, Young T, Maher EJ, Ramirez AJ. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25, 532-538.

PURPOSE: To test the effectiveness of supplementing usual supportive care with aromatherapy massage in the management of anxiety and depression in cancer patients through a pragmatic two-arm randomized controlled trial in four United Kingdom cancer centers and a hospice.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: 288 cancer patients, referred to complementary therapy services with clinical anxiety and/or depression, were allocated randomly to a course of aromatherapy massage or usual supportive care alone.
RESULTS: Patients who received aromatherapy massage had no significant improvement in clinical anxiety and/or depression compared with those receiving usual care at 10 weeks postrandomization (odds ratio [OR], 1.3; 95% CI, 0.9 to 1.7; P = .1), but did at 6 weeks postrandomization (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.9; P = .01). Patients receiving aromatherapy massage also described greater improvement in self-reported anxiety at both 6 and 10 weeks postrandomization (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 0.2 to 6.7; P = .04 and OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 0.2 to 6.6; P = .04), respectively.
CONCLUSION: Aromatherapy massage does not appear to confer benefit on cancer patients' anxiety and/or depression in the long-term, but is associated with clinically important benefit up to 2 weeks after the intervention.

Commentary by Dana N. Rutledge, RN, PhD, Nursing Research Facilitator

This randomized controlled trial contributes to the body of evidence about the effectiveness of complementary therapies in cancer, specifically the use of aromatherapy massage (AM). There have been complaints that the “evidence” about complementary therapies is weak or nonexistent. This gives little credence to providers who wish to use these therapies. This study gives strong evidence that in the short-term (two weeks after AM was completed) cancer patients who received AM had less anxiety than patients who did not receive AM. They did not have less depression or other symptoms (e.g., pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, global quality of life).

The study intervention was massage with essential oils delivered by massage therapists over 1 hour weekly for 4 weeks. Patients in the treatment group received at least one treatment. Patients in the control group received access to psychological support as part of their cancer care. Patients recruited to the study had been referred to complementary therapy services by a cancer health professional.

Of interest to hospital nurses is that in a pilot study of 57 patients receiving AM, patients showed significantly decreased average anxiety levels immediately after the treatment. This endpoint was not of interest to the researchers, but would be to hospital nurses. This means that immediately following a 1-hour massage with essential oils, patients had less anxiety – on average. No adverse effects from the AM were reported.


Massage Therapy said...

Wow. Thank you very much. This article is very useful. Thanks for information. As I give my client the best massage I can share your story to them. I hope they'll comfortable. Thank you.

Mack said...

Aromatherapy Massage sounds interesting. Thanks for this wonderful article. I like it very much.

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Cathy said...

Complementary therapies do seem prominsing but still need more research, aromatherapy massage is interesting

Kayla said...

I am glad to finally see strong research on eastern medicine, in the western world. I hope researchers keep an open mind in researching eastern medical techniques.

nursing jobs said...

I think the value of alternative and complimentary medicine should not be underestimated. Interesting read!

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Intervention is a one hour per week for 4 weeks of massage oil massage. Patients in the treatment group received at least one treatment.

Demerit Points said...

Treatment group received treatment at least once. The control group received access to counselling, as part of their cancer treatment.

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I love Aromatherapy Massages, they are so relaxing and helpful, they are my favorite after sensual massages.

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It makes a small loan providers using these treatments. This study provides strong evidence that cancer patients receiving short-term morning.