Wilkinson, S.M., Love, S.B., Westcombe, A.M., Gambles, M.A., Burgess, C.C., Cargill, A., . . . Ramirez, A.J. (2007). Effectiveness of aromatherapy massage in the management of anxiety and depression in patients with cancer: A multicenter randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25, 532–539.doi: 10.1200/JCO.2006.08.9987
The intervention was a four-week course of one-hour aromatherapy massage offered in National Health Service cancer care settings in the United Kingdom. Patients were recruited and randomized to the intervention group or the control group. The primary variable was change in anxiety and/or depression between full case and borderline and noncase at 10 weeks postrandomization. Diagnostic assessments were tape-recorded, and regular consensus meetings were held to ensure consistency of the diagnostic rating. The secondary variable was self-reported anxiety using the State Subscale of the State Anxiety Inventory (SAI).
Four cancer centers and one hospice in England (National Health Service cancer care settings)
A longitudinal, randomized controlled trial design was used.
State Anxiety Inventory (SAI)–State Subscale measured at 6 and 10 weeks
Patients receiving aromatherapy massage experienced a significant improvement in anxiety at two weeks after intervention, and this was maintained at six weeks after intervention. The reduction of anxiety (by SAI) in the patients receiving usual care plus aromatherapy massage was at a confidence interval of 95% (p = 0.04) both at 6 weeks and 10 weeks.
The results of this trial suggest that aromatherapy massage is an effective therapeutic option for the short-term management of mild to moderate anxiety in patients with cancer.
The study required specialized training in aromatherapy massage.