The effects of foot and facial massage on sleep induction, blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate: crossover pilot study

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2007 Nov;13(4):266-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2007.03.008. Epub 2007 May 8.


The study aimed to compare the effects of facial massage with that of foot massage on sleep induction and vital signs of healthy adults and to test a methodology that could be used by a lone researcher in such a study. A randomised within-group crossover pilot study of six healthy female volunteers was conducted. The interventions were a 20min foot and a 20min facial massage using peach-kernel base oil Prunus persica. A drop in systolic blood pressure of 8.5mmHg was recorded immediately after facial massage compared to that of 1mmHg recorded after foot massage. Both treatments were equally effective in reducing subjective levels of alertness during the interventions, with face massage marginally better at producing subjective sleepiness. A lone researcher using these methods would be able objectively to measure vital signs before and after interventions, but not during; and would be able subjectively to measure sleep induction in non-sleep-laboratory contexts.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Face
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use
  • Prunus / chemistry
  • Respiration*
  • Sleep / physiology*


  • Plant Oils