Massage with essential oils significantly alleviated neuropathic pain in diabetes patients.
Diabetic neuropathy is a painful condition resulting from nerve damage in people with diabetes mellitus (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/…/nerve-damage-diabetic-neuropath…). Zehra Gok Metin, PhD, RN and her team at Hacettepe University Faculty of Nursing, Ankara, Turkey looked into the possible effects of aromatherapy massage on neuropathic pain.
In their 2017 open-label randomized controlled trial, 46 patients were divided into two groups. The intervention group received a 30 minute aromatherapy massage of feet and hands three times a week for four weeks. They used a 5% dilution of equal parts of Lavender, Geranium, Rosemary, Blue (“German”) Chamomile and Lemon Eucalyptus in coconut oil. The control group received routine care. The Visual Analog Scale was used to measure pain, and the impact of pain on quality of life was assessed through a self-reported scale.
Mean pain levels decreased from 6 to 4 after the first two weeks, and to 2 after four weeks in the intervention group (66% decrease, compared to 9% decrease in the control group), and quality of life scores were significantly higher in the aromatherapy group. No adverse reactions were reported. The researchers concluded that aromatherapy massage is a low risk, high benefit and high compliance modality that can be helpful for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
This study is impressive not only for the findings, but also because it is an example of a very well designed aromatherapy trial. Essential oils were selected based on literature review and consultation with a certified aromatherapist, massage techniques are described in detail, and it is possible to obtain GS/MS analyses of the oils used.
We look forward to more clinical studies from this exciting Turkish researcher!