Lavender to reduce preoperative anxiety?

An American study shows the effectiveness of lavender essential oil in preoperative anxiety. Patients treated with aromatherapy felt less stressed before the operation, which could be a good alternative to conventional anxiolytics.

Fear of surgery, anesthesia or postoperative pain can negatively affect patient recovery. This state of stress has been shown to be associated with poor understanding of surgical information, prolonged hospitalization, longer healing, and reduced ability to fight off infections.

Researchers at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in the United States wanted to know if lavender essential oil, easy to use and inexpensive, could be enough to reduce this anxiety. Their results appeared in the Journal of Surgical Oncology.




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Lavender essential oil has a wide range of application, but is mainly used for its sedative and relaxing effects. These anxiolytic powers come from two molecules: linalool and linalyl acetate. The researchers selected this plant because the side effects are minimal and it can be applied in several forms, massage, inhalation or compress.

100 patients, admitted for outpatient surgery between January 2015 and August 2015, were randomly divided into two groups. The first received, at least 30 minutes before his operation, a patch of lavender to put on the chest, and the other, the control group, only conventional nursing care. Everyone then had to describe their anxiety, using a visual analogue scale (VAS) ranging from 0 to 10, at two distinct times.



When entering the preoperative waiting room, control group anxiety averaged 3.79 and control group anxiety was 4.74. When leaving for the operation, she was 3.78 and 3.67 respectively. Thus, people treated with lavender essential oils saw their anxiety decrease on average 1.07 and 77% of patients felt calmer before the operation. The observed effects are modest but statistically significant. Scientists are now waiting for further research to confirm the clinical effectiveness of lavender aromatherapy.


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