New Research: Aromatherapy massage for diabetic neuropathy


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 (…/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!


  1. I followed the link but could not find the aromatherapy massage technique details the article states are described in detail.

    • Hi Jeanette, the technique is described in the full text article, not just in the abstract.

  2. As someone that has neuropathy from diabetes I find the study interesting but one major flaw. I’ve noticed that massage to my feet improves the pain greatly without the use of essential oils. And it seems, from reading about this, there was not a group that received massage without the essential oils to see how that affected it. So you really don’t know if it was the essential oils or the massage or a combination that brought the relief as massage is not normaly part of the care for neuropathy in a medical setting.

    • Hi Dannie
      Out of interest did you try the recommended blend? Would be great to know if you saw a diifference with using the blend as opposed ot having massage with out.

  3. Please, may i have the aboVe percentages converted to drops of the essential oils? Thank you

    • For example, nine drops of each essential oil in 30 ml (1 oz) of coconut oil.

  4. This is really a great introductory article. One question I had is does anyone know what Chemotype of rosemary was used? I am assuming 1,8-cineole, but looking for confirmation. Thank you!

    • The researchers do not give any detailed information about the essential oils used, which is unfortunate, but 1,8-cineole chemotype is the most commonly used.


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