The effects of aromatherapy massage on improvement of anxiety among patients receiving palliative care: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials

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Background:Anxiety in patients receiving palliative care is a noteworthy concern because it may affect their quality of life. Aromatherapy has been widely utilized to improve anxiety among patients receiving palliative care.Objective:To investigate the effectiveness of anxiety improvement in patients receiving palliative care by comparing the intervention group (aromatherapy massage) with the control group (common massage alone).Methods:A literature search was performed using PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, MEDLINE, and CINAHL for all related studies from inception through November 30, 2018 without restriction on language. A quantitative synthesis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to compare the difference in effectiveness scores between the aromatherapy massage and only common massage groups by employing a random-effect model.Results:We included three RCTs with a total of 160 participants (81 in the intervention group and 79 in the control group) in our systematic review and conducted a quantitative synthesis. The secondary data from the reviewed trials were then pooled using a random-effect model. Anxiety (mean difference = −2.60 [95% confidence interval: −7.82, 2.63], P = .33) was assessed using anxiety scores from the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.Conclusion:Compared with common massage alone, aromatherapy massage does not provide significant effectiveness of anxiety improvement among patients receiving palliative care.

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