Effects of aromatherapy acupressure on hemiplegic shoulder pain and motor power in stroke patients: a pilot study

J Altern Complement Med. 2007 Mar;13(2):247-51. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.6189.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine if aromatherapy acupressure, compared to acupressure alone, was effective in reducing hemiplegic shoulder pain and improving motor power in stroke patients.

Design: This work was a randomized, controlled trial.

Subjects: Thirty (30) stroke patients with hemiplegic shoulder pain participated in this study.

Intervention: Subjects were randomly assigned to either an aromatherapy acupressure group (N = 15) or an acupressure group ( N = 15), with aromatherapy acupressure using lavender, rosemary, and peppermint given only to the former group. Each acupressure session lasted 20 minutes and was performed twice-daily for 2 weeks.

Outcomes measures: Shoulder pain and motor power were the outcome measures used in this study.

Results: The pain scores were markedly reduced in both groups at post-treatment, compared to pretreatment (both aroma acupressure and acupressure group, p < 0.001). A nonparametric statistical analysis revealed that the pain score differed significantly between the 2 groups at post-treatment ( p < 0.01). The motor power significantly improved at post-treatment, compared to pretreatment, in both groups ( p < 0.005). However, there was no intergroup difference between two groups.

Conclusions: These results suggest that aromatherapy acupressure exerts positive effects on hemiplegic shoulder pain, compared to acupressure alone, in stroke patients.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aromatherapy / methods*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pilot Projects
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Shoulder Pain / therapy*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome