Inhaled Lavender and Sandalwood reduce “state anxiety”
A 2017 randomized, placebo-controlled comparative study investigated the effects of aromatherapy on adaptation to anxiety in women undergoing breast biopsy. The study compared patches with two different blends, to patches with no scent.
Each of the 97 participants was given a patch (tab) that was placed on their shoulder for the duration of the procedure. They were divided into three groups: thirty women were given a blend of Lavender and Sandalwood, thirty were given Orange and Peppermint, and twenty-seven received a tab with no scent. State (situation) anxiety levels were measured via a questionnaire before and after the intervention. On top of that, trait (general) anxiety levels were taken before the procedure.
There was a decrease in median anxiety levels for all the groups, however the Lavender-Sandalwood group showed significantly lower anxiety post-procedure compared to both the Orange-Peppermint group and the placebo group. The Orange-Peppermint group did not show significant improvement over placebo. Interestingly, those who had low trait anxiety levels benefitted more than those with higher general anxiety.
The study concluded that the use of aromatherapy tabs offers an innovative, simple, evidence-based nursing intervention with the potential to improve adaptation to the individual’s healthcare experience and decrease anxiety.