Researchers in Japan have found that massage therapy combined with aromatherapy decreased stress among elderly patients.

The objective of a new study was to verify the effectiveness of aromatherapy massage on elderly patients under long-term hospitalization.

Aromatherapy massage was performed twice a week for a total of eight times, according to a press release from Toho University, in Japan. The subjects were elderly women under long-term hospitalization.

A questionnaire and measurement of stress marker levels (salivary amylase activity) were administered before and after the first, fifth, and eighth aromatherapy massages, according to the press release.

“A decrease in stress after aromatherapy massage compared to before each massage was confirmed at all measurement times and with the stress marker,” the researchers noted, adding, “aroma massage appears likely to prove effective in reducing psychological stress among elderly patients under long-term hospitalization.”

The research was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.