Aromatherapy massage helps with post-surgical sleep according to recent research conducted at Atatürk University in Erzurum, Turkey.
Many factors can affect sleep after surgery, including pain, stress, and restrictions in position. The study which was published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, was conducted to determine the effect of aromatherapy massage on quality of sleep and physiological parameters in surgical intensive care patients.
The researchers wrote:
“The intensive care unit patients, who need sleep and rest the most in order to recover, are unfortunately the patient group that has to suffice with the least amount of sleep due to their environment and conditions. These patients spend awake an important part of the time they need to be sleep; therefore, they are not able to benefit from the therapeutic effect of the sleep adequately.”
The study involved 60 postoperative patients divided into two groups of 30 — experimental and control. One group received aromatherapy massage with lavender oil one day after surgery, while the control received standard post-op care without massage.
Data was collected via forms as well as face-to-face interviews with patients in the intensive care unit. And the patients’ physical parameters were tested before and after lavender oil was applied to their skin via whole body massage that included “deltoid muscles, arms, back, shoulder, thighs, palms and fingers, front and posterior parts of the legs, forearms, belly and chest, front and back of feet, auxiliaries and neck muscles.”
The researchers measured sleep quality, respiration, pulse rate, and diastolic blood pressure before and after treatment, and found significant improvement in both sleep quality and diastolic blood pressure in the massage group.
They concluded that aromatherapy massage has a positive effect on patients’ quality of sleep, and that the therapy should be taught in nursing education programs:
“Based on these results, the application of aromatherapy massage in patients before bedtime should be increased to enhance quality of sleep. This treatment, one of the complementary therapeutic approaches used in nursing, is a stand-alone initiative in the organization of training programs. Aromatherapy and other alternative treatment methods should be introduced in nursing education programs. Similar to other treatments for long-term use with large population groups, it is advisable to conduct comparisons and obtain an accurate interpretation of the results.”
(ht: Massage Magazine)
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