Powers of Aromatherapy: Pain Management
There is in-vitro research, there is clinical research and then when there is enough clinical data, researchers compile meta-analyses. These put together all the results of previous studies to see if there are consistent results.
The fact that there is a meta-analysis on aromatherapy is good news on its own. Even better news is that this analysis found significant positive effect of aromatherapy in reducing pain!
Lakhan et al. (2016) compared the results of 12 clinical studies that used aromatherapy intervention as pain management, and used VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) to measure the pain. Another 42 clinical studies were assessed through systemic review.
Ten of the analyzed studies used single oils, 2 applied blends, and a total of 8 trials used Lavender oil either on its own or in a blend. There were some differences between the studies, in terms of nociceptive pain (resulting from a harmful stimulus, such as being cut) and inflammatory pain, where aromatherapy seemed to be more efficient for the former. Essential oils also showed to have a stronger effect on acute vs. chronic pain, and were better for post-operative pain. The researchers also concluded that aromatherapy is a very useful intervention on OB/GYN related pain (we reported on efficacy of aromatherapy massage for menstrual pain here: https://tisserandinstitute.org/…/aromatherapy-menstrual-pain/ )
Step by step, application by application, essential oils are accepted as valid counterparts to alopatic medicines in clinical settings.