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A randomised controlled trial of the use of aromatherapy and hand massage to reduce disruptive behaviour in people with dementia


Fu, Chieh-Yu, Moyle, Wendy, Cooke, Marie


BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine, Volume: 13, Pages.: 165-165

Year of Publication



Background: Aromatherapy and hand massage therapies have been reported to have some benefit for people with dementia who display behavioural symptoms; however there are a number of limitations of reported studies. The aim is to investigate the effect of aromatherapy (3% lavender oil spray) with and without hand massage on disruptive behaviour in people with dementia living in long-term care.; Methods: In a single blinded randomised controlled trial 67 people with a diagnosis of dementia and a history of disruptive behaviour, from three long-term care facilities were recruited and randomised using a random number table into three groups: (1) Combination (aromatherapy and hand massage) (n = 22), (2) Aromatherapy (n = 23), (3) Placebo control (water spray) (n = 22). The intervention was given twice daily for six weeks. Data on residents’ behaviour (CMAI) and cognition (MMSE) were collected before, during and after the intervention.; Results: Despite a downward trend in behaviours displayed not one of the interventions significantly reduced disruptive behaviour.; Conclusions: Further large-scale placebo controlled studies are required where antipsychotic medication is controlled and a comparison of the methods of application of aromatherapy are investigated.; Trial Registration: ACTRN12612000917831.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Fu_2013, doi = {10.1186/1472-6882-13-165}, url = {}, year = 2013, publisher = {Springer Nature}, volume = {13}, number = {1}, pages = {165}, author = {Chieh-Yu Fu and Wendy Moyle and Marie Cooke}, title = {A randomised controlled trial of the use of aromatherapy and hand massage to reduce disruptive behaviour in people with dementia}, journal = {{BMC} Complementary and Alternative Medicine} }


aged, aged, 80 and over, aromatherapy, behavior, cognition, combined modality therapy, dementia, female, humans, male, massage, middle aged, oils volatile, plant oils, psychology, psychomotor agitation, therapeutic use, therapy, treatment outcome

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes

Behaviour, Cognition


Long Term Residential Care without medically trained staff, Nursing Homes

Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Complementary therapies