Self-applied Lavender oil improves daily life of patients with knee osteoarthritis
A 2018 randomized, single-blinded clinical trial investigated the effects of massage with a 3% dilution of Lavender oil on the ability of patients with knee osteoarthritis to perform normal daily activities.
The Iranian researchers divided 80 participants into three groups: aromatherapy massage (27), massage with almond oil (27), and no intervention (26). Patients in both of the massage groups performed a 20 minute self-administered effleurage three times a week for three weeks, after being instructed on the whole procedure. All participants received their usual pain medication.
The WOMAC score was measured, tracking the activities of daily living before the study, immediately following intervention, after 1 week and after 4 weeks. There was a significant improvement in both the Lavender massage and plain massage groups right after the intervention, compared to the third group, although the Lavender group showed greater improvement. After one week, only the Lavender group showed significant improvement. At the four weeks, all groups showed the same scores.
WOMAC is an osteoarthritis index that assesses pain (5 activities), stiffness (at two points in the day) and physical function (17 activities).
The researchers concluded that Lavender oil massage could temporarily improve the ability of patients with knee osteoarthritis to perform the activities of daily living. They surmised that the effect may be due to the calming effect of inhaling Lavender, its pharmacological properties (anti-inflammatory, analgesic), as well as the massage itself.