Effects of aromatherapy massage on face-down posture-related pain after vitrectomy: a randomized controlled trial

Pain Manag Nurs. 2014 Jun;15(2):482-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2012.12.004. Epub 2013 Mar 5.


Postoperative face-down posturing (FDP) is recommended to optimize the effects of intraocular gas tamponade after vitrectomy. However, patients undergoing FDP usually experience physical and psychological burdens. This 3-armed, randomized, single-center trial investigated the effects of aromatherapy on FDP-related physical pain. Sixty-three patients under FDP were randomly allocated to one of three treatment groups: aromatherapy massage with essential oil (AT), oil massage without essential oil (OT), and a control group. The AT and OT groups received 10 minutes of massage by ward nurses trained by an aromatherapist, while the control group received usual care. Outcomes were assessed as short-term (pre- to post-intervention) and long-term (first to third postoperative day) changes in physical pain in five body regions using face-scale. The AT and OT groups both revealed similar short-term pain reductions after intervention, compared with the control group. Regarding long-term effects, neither group experienced significant effects until the second day. Significantly more pain reduction compared with usual care occurred on the third day, mainly in the AT group, though there were few significant differences between the AT and OT groups. In conclusion, this study suggests that simple oil massage is an effective strategy for immediate pain reduction in patients undergoing FDP, while aromatherapy may have a long-term effect on pain reduction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aromatherapy / methods*
  • Aromatherapy / nursing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Massage / nursing
  • Middle Aged
  • Oils / therapeutic use
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain Management / nursing
  • Pain, Postoperative / nursing
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Prone Position
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitrectomy / nursing*


  • Oils