While massage and aromatherapy are most commonly thought of in terms of relaxation, these complementary therapies can offer numerous benefits for maintaining good health as well as treating various ailments.1
Researchers in this Iranian clinical trial decided to further explore these acclaimed benefits and determine whether aromatherapy massage can be useful for menopause symptoms.
This trial was set up to involve 90 postmenopausal women, reporting with a variety of symptoms. They were divided into three groups, each with a different treatment regimen:
- The aromatherapy massage group: 30-minute sessions with aroma oil, twice a week for four weeks
- The placebo massage group: 30-minute sessions with plain oil, twice a week for four weeks
- The control massage group: no aromatherapy massage
The aroma oil used for the first group was made of lavender, rose geranium, rose, and rosemary essential oils (4:2:1:1 ratio), diluted in almond (90%) and evening primrose oil (10%). Plain oil used for the placebo was odorless liquid petrolatum. The massage was applied on the abdomen, femur, and arms.
Using the Menopause Rating Scale, women's menopausal symptoms were measured before and after the study. The results of this trial were published in the renowned Menopause journal of the North American Menopause Society.
It has been found that women in both massage groups had lower menopausal scores than those in the control group.
The analysis between the massage groups showed that women in the aromatherapy massage group had significantly lower menopausal scores than those in the placebo group (a decrease from 21.86 to 13.11 in the aromatherapy massage group vs. 21.71 to 19.07 in the placebo group).
What Does It Mean?
As can be seen by the results of this trial, both massage and aromatherapy massage can effectively relieve menopause symptoms, with the latter being even more effective.
These results have important implications for menopausal women as well as their healthcare providers. It calls for a more expanded use of aromatherapy and massage as complementary treatments for menopause symptoms, allowing for a pharmacology-free passage through the transition.
- Menopause. (2012). Effect of aromatherapy massage on menopausal symptoms: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Retrieved January 6, 2021 from https://sci.bban.top/pdf/10.1097/gme.0b013e318248ea16.pdf
- The Nursing Clinics of North America. (2001). The role of aromatherapy in nursing care. Retrieved January 6, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11342402/