Quality of Life Research

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 1819–1829 | Cite as

Comparing effects between music intervention and aromatherapy on anxiety of patients undergoing mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit: a randomized controlled trial

  • Chiu-Hsiang Lee
  • Chiung-Ling Lai
  • Yi-Hui Sung
  • Mei Yu Lai
  • Chung-Ying LinEmail author
  • Long-Yau LinEmail author



Using patient-reported outcomes and physiological indicators to test the effects of music intervention and aromatherapy on reducing anxiety for intensive care unit (ICU) patients undergoing mechanical ventilation.


Patients with ICU admission duration >24 h were randomly assigned to a Music intervention group (n = 41), Aromatherapy group (n = 47), or Control group (rest only; n = 44). Each patient in the Music group listened to music; each patient in the Aromatherapy group received lavender essential oil massage on his/her back for 5 min; each patient in the Control group wore noise-canceling headphones. Anxiety was measured using the Chinese version of the Stage-Trait Anxiety Inventory (C-STAI) and the Visual Analogue Scale for Anxiety (VAS-A) at baseline, post-test, and 30-min follow-up. Heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure were measured every 10 min from baseline to the 30-min follow-up.


The Music group had significantly better post-test VAS-A and C-STAI scores, and had lower heart rate and blood pressure than the Control group. The Aromatherapy group had significantly better VAS-A score and lower heart rate than the Control group. The 30-min follow-up showed that both Music and Aromatherapy groups had lower heart rate and blood pressure than the Control group.


Music and aromatherapy interventions were both effective for ICU patients. The effects of music intervention were greater than that of aromatherapy; both interventions maintained the effects for at least 30 min.


Anxiety Aromatherapy Intensive care unit Music intervention Ventilation 



We thank the directors, head nurses, and research nurses in the ICU of Chung Shan Medical University Hospital for their assistance, and Ms. Bei-Yu Chiang and Chang-Si Wang for advice on selecting music. Without their help, we could not have finished this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of MedicineChung Shan Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan, Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of NursingChung Shan Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan, Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Intensive Care UnitChung Shan Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan, Republic of China
  4. 4.Neurological and Nephrology WardChung Shan Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan, Republic of China
  5. 5.Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social SciencesThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong
  6. 6.School of MedicineChung Shan Medical UniversityTaichungTaiwan, Republic of China
  7. 7.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyChung Shan Medical University HospitalTaichungTaiwan, Republic of China

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