Study Confirms Aromatherapy Stress Reduction in Adolecents
A study released in the June 2009 Journal of the Korean Academy of Nursing did a complex study on the effect of inhaled scents and several markers of stress. The markers included stress and anxiety self assessments, blood pressure, pulse rate, cortisol levels, and immune system responses. The study group was made up of high school girls, given aromatherapy pendants to wear. The aromatic used for the experimental group was Bergamot essential oil, whereas the control groups inhaled either plain carrier oil or carrier with added artificial flavoring.
This is one of many studies examining the effects of essential oils on stress levels available through Pub Med. Many studies in laboratories have shown varying amounts of stress reduction, though real-world applications with human beings has produced mixed results (sometime the aromatherapy did no better than placebo). Often, lavender essential oil was used, which in fact we've found only appeals to a portion of the population. Whether this is the reason the studies have been inconclusive, we're not sure, but one of the foundations of this type of aromatherapy practice (as opposed to treatment of infectious illness, for example) is that the 'patient' should like the aroma they're inhaling!
All markers of stress in this particular study were measured as significantly lower other than immune response. This includes cortisol levels, which have been tied to weight gain. We think bergamot essential oil was a wonderful choice, as its scent appeals to so many people, and is considered aromatherapy's most broad-spectrum anti-depressant oil.
STUDY: The effects of aromatherapy on stress and stress responses in adolescents
Seo JY.Department of Nursing, Youngnam Foreign Language College, Gyeongsan, Korea.
PURPOSE: This study was done to examine the effects of aromatherapy on stress and stress responses in adolescents. METHODS: A two-group cross-over design was used for this study. The experimental treatment was aroma essential oil inhalation and the placebo treatment was carrier oil inhalation using a necklace. The sample included 36 female high school students. Fisher's exact test, t-test, and paired t-test using SPSS/WIN program were used to analyze the data. RESULTS: Stress levels were significantly lower when the students received the aroma treatment compared to when they received the placebo treatment. The stress responses except salivary IgA levels were significantly lower when the students received the aroma treatment. CONCLUSION: Aroma inhalation could be a very effective stress management method for high school students. Therefore, it is recommended that this program be used in clinical practice as an effective nursing intervention for high school students.