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Effect of aromatherapy massage on menopausal symptoms: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial

Darsareh, Fatemeh MS1; Taavoni, Simin MS1,2; Joolaee, Soodabeh PhD1; Haghani, Hamid MS3

Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society: September 2012 - Volume 19 - Issue 9 - p 995–999
doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318248ea16
Original Articles

Objective Menopause is a significant event in most women’s lives because it marks the end of a woman’s natural reproductive life. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of aromatherapy massage on menopausal symptoms.

Methods A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted at a menopausal clinic at a gynecology hospital in Tehran. The study population comprised 90 women who were assigned to an aromatherapy massage group, a placebo massage group, or a control group. Each participant in the aromatherapy massage group received 30-minute aromatherapy treatment sessions twice a week for 4 weeks with aroma oil, whereas participants in the placebo massage group received the same treatment with plain oil. No treatment was provided to participants in the control group. The outcome measures in this study were menopausal symptoms, as obtained through the Menopause Rating Scale.

Results The mean baseline level of the menopausal score did not differ among all groups. However, after eight sessions of intervention, the Menopause Rating Scale score differed significantly among the three groups (P < 0.001). Post hoc analysis revealed that women in both the aromatherapy massage group and the placebo massage group had a lower menopausal score than the control group (P < 0.001). When the aromatherapy massage and the placebo massage groups were compared, the menopausal score for the aromatherapy massage group was found to be significantly lower (P < 0.001) than for the placebo group.

Conclusions The results of the study demonstrate that both massage and aromatherapy massage were effective in reducing menopausal symptoms. However, aromatherapy massage was more effective than only massage.

From the 1Nursing and Midwifery Faculty, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran; 2Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine (Tehran University of Medical Sciences), Tehran, Iran; and 3Statistics Department, School of Management and Medical Information and Health Sciences, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Received November 15, 2011; revised and accepted December 29, 2011.

This trial has been registered in the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials, which is a Primary Registry in the World Health Organization Registry Network set up with help from the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and hosted by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences (IRCT ID: IRCT201101262172N9).

Funding/support: Funding was provided by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Simin Taavoni, MS, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Post code 13185-1678, Tehran, Iran. E-mail:

©2012The North American Menopause Society