Purpose: This study aimed to examine the effects of aromatherapy massage on neuropathic pain severity and quality of life (QoL) in patients suffering from painful diabetic neuropathy.
Design and methods: This open-label randomized controlled clinical study was conducted in a university hospital endocrine outpatient clinic in Turkey. The study sample consisted of 46 patients, randomly allocated to an intervention group (n = 21) and a control group (n = 25). The intervention group received aromatherapy massage three times per week for a period of 4 weeks. The control group received only routine care. Data were collected from patients using the Douleur Neuropathique questionnaire, the visual analog scale, and the Neuropathic Pain Impact on Quality of Life questionnaire.
Findings: Neuropathic pain scores significantly decreased in the intervention group compared with the control group in the fourth week of the study. Similarly, QoL scores significantly improved in the intervention group in the fourth week of the study.
Conclusions: Aromatherapy massage is a simple and effective nonpharmacological nursing intervention that can be used to manage neuropathic pain and improve QoL in patients with painful neuropathy.
Clinical relevance: Aromatherapy massage is a well-tolerated, feasible, and safe nonpharmacological method that can be readily integrated into clinical settings by nursing staff. The essential oils rosemary, geranium, lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile can be safely used by nurses in the clinical setting, if applicable. However, training and experience of nurses in aromatherapy massage is critical to achieving positive results.
Keywords: Aromatherapy; massage; neuropathic pain; painful diabetic neuropathy; quality of life; randomized trial.
© 2017 Sigma Theta Tau International.