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.
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: Two hundred eighty-eight 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.