Aromatherapy Massage vs. Foot Reflexology on the Severity of Restless Legs Syndrome in Female Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis

Geriatrics (Basel). 2021 Oct 11;6(4):99. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics6040099.


This study aimed to compare the effects of reflexology and aromatherapy massage on the severity of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in 105 female patients undergoing hemodialysis. A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted in a hemodialysis center with 48 beds in a high turnover hospital in an urban area of Iran. Intervention groups received reflexology (n = 35) and aromatherapy massage using lavender essential oil (n = 35) for 24 sessions, and the placebo group (n = 35) received simple foot massage. The restless legs syndrome rating scale was used to assess RLS severity in the groups before the intervention and after 4 and 8 weeks of the interventions. Results obtained by the mixed model analysis 3 * 3 (3 groups * 3 times) revealed the significant effect of time, group, and the time-group interrelationship (p = 0.001). Aromatherapy massage reduced the RLS severity, but reflexology did not appear to cause any significant reduction in it. Therefore, we suggest that aromatherapy massage be incorporated into routine care for relieving the ailment and suffering of patients undergoing hemodialysis.

Keywords: aromatherapy; hemodialysis; reflexology; restless legs syndrome.