Aromatherapy massage lowered blood pressure and improved sleep quality in middle-aged hypertensive women, according to new research.

Previous, unrelated research studies have indicated massage relaxes the autonomic nervous system, lessens stress, reduces blood pressure, reduces depression and boosts immune-system function.

For the new study, hypertensive patients were allocated into the aroma massage group, the placebo group and the no-treatment control group, according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov.

“To evaluate the effects of aroma massage, the experimental group received a massage with essential oils prescribed by an aromatherapist once a week and body cream once a day,” the abstract noted. “The placebo group received a massage using artificial fragrance oil once a week and body cream once a day.”

Blood pressure, pulse rate, sleep conditions, and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure were monitored before and after the experiment.

The investigators noted significant differences in blood pressure and sleep quality among the groups and said, “Aroma massage may help improve patient quality of life and maintain health as a nursing intervention in daily life.”

The article was published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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