A recent study suggests that lavender oil aromatherapy may decrease pain intensity and reduce stress.
Lavender, which is native to the Mediterranean area, the Arabian Peninsula, Russia and Africa, has been used for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes throughout history. Lavender oil aromatherapy may have anti-anxiety effects. Studies suggest there may be a small positive effect; however, further research is necessary before conclusions can be made.
In a new study, researchers randomly assigned 30 healthy participants to lavender oil aromatherapy administered through an oxygen mask lined with lavender oil, or a control group receiving only oxygen, for five minutes. Stress level, pain intensity level during a needle insertion and Bispectral Index (BIS) values, which indicate the level of consciousness, were measured before and after treatment.
The researchers found that after treatment both stress levels and BIS values were significantly reduced for the lavender group when compared to the control group. Furthermore, the reported level of pain intensity following a needle insertion was significantly lower for the lavender group.
Due to the small sample size, further research is necessary.
Sioh Kim, MD, PhD, Hyun-Jae Kim, MD, Jin-Seok Yeo, MD, Sung-Jung Hong, PhD, Ji-Min Lee, PhD, and Younghoon Jeon, MD, PhD "The Effect of Lavender Oil on Stress, Bispectral Index Values, and Needle Insertion Pain in Volunteers" The Journal Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2011 Sep;17(9):823-6.