Stress, pain and anesthesia can all keep patients awake post-surgery. A new research study investigated aromatherapy massage benefits on the sleep quality of hospital patients who had recently undergone surgery, and found this treatment had a positive effect.

Post-surgical insomnia is a real complication experienced by patients recovering from procedures.

Stress, pain and anesthesia can all keep patients awake post-surgery.

A new research study investigated the effects of aromatherapy massage on the sleep quality of hospital patients who had recently undergone surgery, and found this treatment had a positive effect.

“Results of the study showed that aromatherapy massage enhanced the sleep quality of patients in a surgical intensive care unit and resulted in some positive changes in their physiological parameters,” the study’s authors wrote.

Study Design

One day after receiving general surgery, patients in a postoperative intensive care unit experienced a significant improvement in sleep quality, as well as diastolic blood pressure, following a full-body massage, according to the research.

The study, “Effects of aromatherapy massage on the sleep quality and physiological parameters of patients in a surgical intensive care unit,” involved 60 postoperative patients in a surgical intensive care unit.

For the focus of this study, the researchers aimed to identify whether aromatherapy massage could improve sleep among these patients.

“The intensive care unit patients, who need sleep and rest the most in order to recover, are unfortunately the patient group that has to suffice with the least amount of sleep due to their environment and conditions,” state the study’s authors.

“These patients spend awake an important part of the day they need to be asleep; therefore, they are not able to benefit from the therapeutic effect of sleep adequately.”

For the study, postoperative surgical patients in the intensive care unit were randomly assigned to either the aromatherapy massage group or the standard-care control group.

One day after undergoing general surgery, subjects in the massage group received a full-body massage with lavender oil. Those in the control group received routine nursing care.

Aromatherapy Massage Benefits

The main outcome measures in this study were sleep quality and the physiological parameters of pulse, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and respiratory rate.

Sleep quality was assessed before and after the intervention period using the Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire. The physiological parameters were recorded 15 minutes before and after the intervention period and again 30, 60 and 120 minutes later.

Analysis of the data showed a significant improvement in both sleep quality and diastolic blood pressure among subjects in the aromatherapy massage group following the full-body massage.

In the aromatherapy massage group, 80 percent of the subjects reported daytime sleepiness after the intervention. In the control group, 63 percent of the subjects reported daytime sleepiness.

The research was conducted Department of Surgical Nursing, Atatürk University, and Surgical Nursing, Department of Surgery, Atatürk University Research Hospital. Both institutions are in Erzurum, Turkey. It was published in African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines.

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