Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Early Palliative Care for Oncology Patients: Blind Controlled Study

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Medical and Surgical Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing, Modern University for Technology, and Information, Cairo, Egypt.

2 Department of Clinical Affairs, College of Nursing, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.

3 Shefaa Alomran Hospital, Tiba, Egypt.

4 Aiadi Almostaqbal Oncology Center, Alexandria, Egypt.

5 Department of Nursing, College of Applied Medical Sciences, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Alkharj, Saudi Arabia.

6 Department of Pediatric Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Zagazig University, Egypt.

7 Medical and Surgical Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.


Background: Palliative care is the active holistic treatment of people of all ages who have serious health-related suffering as a result of severe illness, and especially of those who are close to the end of life. Palliative care is provided to cancer patients who experience serious suffering that cannot be relieved without professional intervention and that compromises physical, social, spiritual, and emotional functioning. A straightforward, low-risk, and affordable palliative care approach may be provided through aromatherapy, a type of complementary and alternative medicine. The study objective is to assess the comparative effectiveness of massage, aromatherapy massage, and massage combined with aromatherapy inhalation on cancer patients receiving palliative care. Methods: A total of 100 participants who were divided into four groups at random. The first group, designated as the control group, received standard hospital nursing care, the second group received massage only (using the odorless almond carrier oil), the third group received massage with lavender oil, and the fourth group received combined (inhalation and massage) aromatherapy. The Rotterdam Symptom Checklist (RSCL), given two weeks after aromatherapy, was used to examine participants’ perspectives of care. Results: On the RSCL, combined aromatherapy performed best. In terms of reported physical symptoms, psychological symptoms, and activities, there were statistically significant differences between the scores of the control group and each of the experimental groups. Nonetheless, the total quality of life score showed no significant difference between the control group and the massage only group (t = 0.529, p = 0.60). Conclusions: When paired with aromatherapy inhalation, massage has a positive effect on physical, psychological symptoms, activities, and overall quality of life for cancer patients receiving early palliative care. Nurses and other healthcare providers are recommended to support programs that provide message therapy to reduce reported bodily symptoms, psychological problems, and limited activities among cancer patients.


Main Subjects

Volume 24, Issue 8
August 2023
Pages 2729-2739
  • Receive Date: 28 March 2023
  • Revise Date: 07 July 2023
  • Accept Date: 17 August 2023
  • First Publish Date: 17 August 2023