Stroke patients who received five 30-minute sessions of aromatherapy back massage and five 30-minute foot baths in one week experienced significant improvements in stress, mood and sleep, according to recent research.
The study, “The effects of aroma massage and foot bath on psychophysiological response in stroke patients,” involved 14 stroke patients diagnosed with hemiplegia, which refers to paralysis on one side of the body.
Half the patients were assigned to receive aromatherapy back massage and foot baths five times in one week, whereas the other half served as the study’s control group.
For the aromatherapy back massage, a mix of juniper, lavender, orange, patchouli and rosemary essential oils was blended with jojoba oil. Each of the five massage sessions lasted 30 minutes and used the Swedish techniques of effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement and vibration.
For the foot bath, subjects immersed their feet up to their ankles in water that was heated to 104 degrees. Each of the five foot baths lasted 30 minutes.
The main outcome measure in this study was the patient’s psychophysiological response.
Specifically, the researchers evaluated each subject’s physical and psychological stress, mood state, sleep satisfaction and body temperature.
These outcomes were assessed before and after the one-week intervention period.
To measure physical and psychological stress, the researchers used a four-point scale where zero represented “never” and three represented “always.”
To measure mood state, the researchers used the Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist.
According to the study’s authors, this checklist includes 48 adjectives “related to anxiety, depression, and hostility, and a higher score signifies the mood state is not good.”
Sleep satisfaction was measured using an eight-item visual analog scale, which focused on sleep disturbance or interruption, sleep time, beginning of sleep and sleep depth.
For the assessment of body temperature, the researchers used infrared thermography.
Results of the research revealed significantly lower scores on assessments of physical stress, psychological stress and mood state among subjects who received aromatherapy back massage and foot baths as compared to those in the control group.
In addition, sleep satisfaction and body temperature were significantly higher among subjects in the intervention group as compared to subjects in the control group.
Authors: Jeong Hoon Lee, Eun Kyung Seo, Jae Soon Shim and Sung Pil Chung.
Sources: Department of Physical Therapy, Top OS Hospital, Republic of Korea; Department of Public Health Administration, Jeonbuk Science College, Republic of Korea; Department of Health Science, Chosun University, Republic of Korea; and Department of Sports and Leisure, Dongshin University, Republic of Korea. Originally published in August 2017 in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 29(8), 1292-1296.