Aim: To test whether reflexology was inferior to aromatherapy massage for ameliorating self-selected problems or concerns.
Design: Non-blinded, randomised study with a 1:1 allocation. Adult outpatients recruited from a UK cancer centre, randomised by the minimisation method to either four aromatherapy massage or four reflexology sessions.
Outcome measures: MYCaW scores at baseline and completion; VAS (relaxation) pre and post-sessions.
Analysis: Unpaired t-test for the primary outcome; analysis of variance tests for repeated measures for VAS (relaxation); descriptive statistics (means and 95% confidence intervals) and content analysis for patient comments.
Results: 115 subjects (58 aromatherapy massage, 57 reflexology) recruited. Reflexology was found to be no less effective than aromatherapy massage for MYCaW first concerns (p = 0.046). There was no statistical difference between groups for MYCaW second concerns or overall well-being scores, proportions of patients gaining clinical benefit, VAS scores over time (p = 0.489) or between groups (p = 0.408) or in the written responses.
Keywords: Aromatherapy massage; Oncology; Outpatients; Reflexology; Symptom relief.
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