Aromatherapy and behaviour disturbances in dementia: a randomized controlled trial

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2001 Oct;16(10):1010-3. doi: 10.1002/gps.473.


A random controlled trial of the relaxing effects of an aromatherapy massage on disordered behaviour in dementia was conducted. Twenty-one patients were randomly allocated into one of three conditions, aromatherapy and massage (AM), conversation and aromatherapy (CA) and massage only (M). AM showed the greatest reduction in the frequency of excessive motor behaviour of all three conditions. This reached statistical significance between the hours of three and four pm (p < 0.05). Post hoc analysis suggested that at this time of day the AM consistently reduced motor behaviour when compared with CA (p = 0.05). This provides preliminary evidence of a measurable sedative effect of aromatherapy massage on dementia within a robust scientific paradigm. Further research is recommended with an expanded sample size.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aromatherapy*
  • Dementia / complications
  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Psychomotor Agitation / drug therapy*
  • Psychomotor Agitation / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome