New Research: Lavender oil massage for knee osteoarthritis - Tisserand Institute

Project Description

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.

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  1. Katia September 19, 2018 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Hello, if the dermal limit of Lavender E.O. is 1% maximum (unless I am reading the book on Essential Oil Safety wrong), how can 3% be used in a massage oil? I also followed your link to the pubmed article and I do not see the reference to the amount of Essential Oil used. Can you please clarify? Thank you

    • Robert Tisserand September 19, 2018 at 10:59 am - Reply

      Hi Katia, in Essential Oil Safety there is a dermal limit of 0.1% forLavender absolute (p326) but there is no limit for Lavender essential oil (p327, Safety Summary). Regarding the amount of Lavender oil used, the link is to be abstract, as the full article is not open access (i.e. free) and so we cannot provide a public link to it.

  2. Katia September 19, 2018 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Thank you

  3. Csrol January 8, 2019 at 2:32 am - Reply

    It says mixed with almond oil…can a different carrier oil be used?

    • Robert Tisserand April 7, 2019 at 12:03 pm - Reply

      Yes, absolutely.

  4. Carol January 10, 2019 at 2:18 am - Reply

    Can you use something besides almond oil?

    • Robert Tisserand April 7, 2019 at 12:03 pm - Reply

      Yes, you could use pretty much any vegetable oil.

  5. ELIANA CRISTINA SOARES May 5, 2019 at 2:10 pm - Reply


    What’s tour opinion on lasea/ silexan developed in Germany with lavender?

    • Robert Tisserand May 9, 2019 at 12:43 pm - Reply

      The research on efficacy and safety looks solid.

  6. Cathy July 20, 2019 at 2:37 am - Reply

    Would it be beneficial to add any other oil to enhance just lavender? And could Lavender fine be used?? Thank You! Cathy Viilo

    • Robert Tisserand August 8, 2019 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      Seville Lavender (Lavandula stoechas subsp. luisieri) would be good to use in combination with regular Lavender oil. Note this is not the same as Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender)!

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