The effects of an olive-oil massage on hemodialysis patients suffering from fatigue at a hemodialysis unit in southern India - a randomized controlled trial

Eilean Rathinasamy Lazarus*, Anandhi Deva Amirtharaj, Devakirubai Jacob, Ramesh Chandrababu, Chandrani Isac

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


To determine the effects that an olive oil massage has on fatigue among patients undergoing hemodialysis, and the associated sociodemographic factors that can reduce fatigue. The study used true experimental pre- and post-test research design. A total of 200 patients were recruited in a selected hemodialysis unit in southern India and were allocated to either a study or control group by randomization, with 100 patients in each group. All the patients in the intervention group were given a lower back and lower leg massage using olive oil at the beginning, and after every hour, of their hemodialysis using olive oil for a period of eight weeks. In contrast, the control group continues to receive routine care. The level of fatigue was measured using the Fatigue Severity Scale both before and after massage therapy. Between 73 and 80% of patients were suffering from severe fatigue and the mean fatigue score was 5.53 (SD 1.82) and 5.56 (SD 1.57) for the study and control group, respectively. After eight weeks of massage therapy, the results showed that 53% of patients in the study group showed borderline fatigue, with a mean score of 4.39 (SD 2.37), whereas in the control group 73% patients showed severe fatigue, with a mean score of 5.17 (SD 2.00). The independent t-test between the study and the control group showed a statistically significant reduction in fatigue in the study group with a mean difference (MD) of 3.56 (t=-1.24; p=0.000). There were also statistically significant changes noted in gender and in the duration of the hemodialysis (χ2 = 6.043; p=0.049) and (χ2 = 6.611; p=0.046) respectively. The study concluded that patients undergoing hemodialysis experienced moderate to severe levels of fatigue. In patients with no or mild anemia, massage has been shown to decrease fatigue and increase energy levels among patients undergoing hemodialysis for chronic kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-403
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2021


  • effect
  • fatigue
  • hemodialysis
  • massage
  • olive oil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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