The Preliminary Effects of Massage and Inhalation Aromatherapy on Chemotherapy-Induced Acute Nausea and Vomiting: A Quasi-Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial

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Abstract

Background:

Despite pharmacological treatment, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) are observed in patients.

Objective:

This quasi-randomized controlled pilot study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary effects of massage and inhalation aromatherapies on chemotherapy-induced acute nausea/vomiting.

Methods:

Seventy-five patients with breast cancer were randomly grouped into 1 of 3 groups: massage (n = 25), inhalation (n = 25), and control (n = 25). The patients in the massage group received 20-minute aromatherapy foot massage, whereas those in the inhalation group received 3-minute inhalation aromatherapy before their second, third, and fourth chemotherapy cycles. The control group underwent only the routine treatment. A nausea, vomiting, and retching patient follow-up form was used to evaluate nausea severity by visual analog scale and frequency of vomiting and retching.

Results:

The incidence of nausea and retching was significantly higher in the control group than in the other groups in the third and fourth chemotherapy cycles (P < .001). Furthermore, in these 2 cycles, the incidence of nausea and retching was significantly lower in the massage group than in the inhalation group (P < .001). Nausea severity was significantly lower among patients in the massage and inhalation groups than in the control group in all 3 cycles (P < .001).

Conclusion:

Nausea severity was significantly lower in the massage and inhalation aromatherapy groups than in the control group. Nausea and retching incidence was reduced in the aromatherapy groups compared with that in the control group.

Implications for Practice:

Nonpharmacological approaches are recommended for managing CINV. Massage and inhalation aromatherapy seems promising regarding the management of CINV.

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