Effects of aromatherapy massage on pain, functional state, and quality of life in an elderly individual with knee osteoarthritis

Jpn J Nurs Sci. 2019 Oct;16(4):450-458. doi: 10.1111/jjns.12254. Epub 2019 May 30.


Aim: To investigate the effects of aromatherapy massage on pain, functional state and life quality of elderly individuals with knee osteoarthritis.

Methods: This controlled and experimental study was conducted in two nursing homes. In this study, 90 elderly individuals with knee osteoarthritis were randomized as aromatherapy, massage and control groups. Data were collected in weeks 0, 4, and 8 using Patient Information Form, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) Knee Osteoarthritis Evaluation Scale, OsteoArthritis Knee and Hip Quality of Life Scale (OAKHQoL). Aromatherapy and massage groups received a total of 15-20 min total classic leg massage twice weekly for 3 weeks. In the aromatherapy group, two essential oils (ginger and rosemary) were added to the black seed oil.

Results: In the aromatherapy group, WOMAC (pain and functional state) scores were lower and quality of life scores were higher than the massage and control groups in week 4, and these differences were statistically significant (p < .001). These significant differences were present in the massage group when compared with the control (p < .001). These significant differences in the aromatherapy group were also sustained decreasingly in week 8 (p < .001), while the means were not different from baseline in the massage group (p > .05).

Conclusions: Aromatherapy massage performed in elderly patients with knee osteoarthritis reduced pain and improved functional status and quality of life. The week 8 findings showed that aromatherapy has more favorable and longer sustained effects than the massage.

Keywords: aromatherapy; knee osteoarthritis; massage; nursing; pain; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aromatherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Nursing Homes
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / complications
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Turkey