The Effects of Aroma Foot Massage on Blood Pressure and Anxiety in Japanese Community-Dwelling Men and Women: A Crossover Randomized Controlled Trial

PLoS One. 2016 Mar 24;11(3):e0151712. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151712. eCollection 2016.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of aroma foot massage on blood pressure, anxiety, and health-related quality of life (QOL) in Japanese community-dwelling men and women using a crossover randomized controlled trial.

Methods: Fifty-seven eligible participants (5 men and 52 women) aged 27 to 72 were randomly divided into 2 intervention groups (group A: n = 29; group B: n = 28) to participate in aroma foot massages 12 times during the 4-week intervention period. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP, respectively), heart rate, state anxiety, and health-related QOL were measured at the baseline, 4-week follow-up, and 8-week follow-up. The effects of the aroma foot massage intervention on these factors and the proportion of participants with anxiety were analyzed using a linear mixed-effect model for a crossover design adjusted for participant and period effects. Furthermore, the relationship between the changes in SBP and state anxiety among participants with relieved anxiety was assessed using a linear regression model.

Results: Aroma foot massage significantly decreased the mean SBP (p = 0.02), DBP (p = 0.006), and state anxiety (p = 0.003) as well as the proportion of participants with anxiety (p = 0.003). Although it was not statistically significant (p = 0.088), aroma foot massage also increased the score of mental health-related QOL. The change in SBP had a significant and positive correlation with the change in state anxiety (p = 0.01) among participants with relieved anxiety.

Conclusion: The self-administered aroma foot massage intervention significantly decreased the mean SBP and DBP as well as the state anxiety score, and tended to increase the mental health-related QOL scores. The results suggest that aroma foot massage may be an easy and effective way to improve mental health and blood pressure.

Trial registration: University Hospital Medical Information Network 000014260.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / physiopathology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Blood Pressure Determination
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Foot / physiology
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life

Associated data

  • JPRN/000014260

Grant support

Health Labour Sciences Research Grant, Comprehensive Research on Life-Style Related Diseases including Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes Mellitus (H26-Junkankito(Seishuu)-Ippan-008) from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (A-MED), TO. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.