Aromatherapy compared to massage in the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain: a single-subject experimental design.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: Chronic musculoskeletal pain is widespread amongst the adult UK population and past research has shown that massage may be beneficial with few adverse effects. Aromatherapy compared to massage for chronic pain has a limited evidence base. Therefore, this study proposed to evaluate the effectiveness of massage and aromatherapy on participants with long-term musculoskeletal pain. Research Question: How does aromatherapy compare to massage in the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain? Method: A Single-Subject Experimental Design was undertaken on 6 participants randomly allocated to two groups. Alternate treatments were given for six weeks in three week phases. Four valid outcome measures were used (BPl, MYMOP2, Rand SF36, Ten Point Rating Scale). Blood pressure and pulse were recorded to evaluate physiological reactions to treatment. Results: 5 participants completed the study indicating some positive trends. SPSS Wilcoxon tests on MYMOP2 group pain scores for massage and aromatherapy indicated the influence of intervention (P=.034 and P=.025). Paired T tests confirmed aromatherapy influenced pulse rate: (p= 0.040) and (p= 0.022). Conclusion: It was shown that massage is beneficial for chronic musculoskeletal pain and aromatherapy influences physiology which supports previous research. More aromatherapy research is needed on essential oils for pain management and physiological effects.
BSc (Hons) Complementary Therapies
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