Aromatherapy is popular yet it has a problem: there is no indication for it. Yes, it can make you feel better but this is hardly a true medical indication. I know of many things that make me feel better, and I would not call them a THERAPY! But perhaps this new study from Iran offers a solution for the dilemna:

Sleep plays an essential role in infant development.  This randomized clinical trial investigated the effect of aromatherapy with rose water on the deep sleep status of premature infants admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The study was conducted on 64 infants hospitalized in NICUs. In the intervention group, two drops of rose water were poured on gas and placed next to the babies’ heads. The control group was treated in the same way except that distilled water was employed. The ALS scale was used to assess the sleep status.

Of the 66 infants in this study, 30 were female and 36 were male. The average gestational age of the infants was 32.5 ± 1.99 weeks. The results showed that the amount of deep sleep (type A and B) in the intervention group was significantly higher than the control group during and after the intervention (p=0.001).

The authors concluded that, considering the positive impact of rose water in improve of sleep quality in premature babies; it can be used to improve sleeping condition of infants in hospitals, along with main treatment.

The study has many flaws and it is badly written. Yet, I find it interesting. If its results can be confirmed with a more rigorous trial, aromatherapy might finally find a true medical purpose.

13 Responses to Finally! Researchers may have found a purpose for aromatherapy

  • I have always believed aromatherapy might have powerful effects, ever since a friend had terrible asthma attack when visiting a house using few drops of lavender oil to smell good

    • It’s not exactly a secret that SOME natural extracts (sometimes with a pleasant smell) can have a physiological effect. Not necessarily a positive effect, mind you. And, in fact, the positive/therapeutic effects are, with few exceptions, mild and very limited, while the negative ones can be anything up to and including death (and that includes some of the compounds with positive effects in lower amounts).

      However, all that’s got precious little to do with “aromatherapy” or any of its tenets.

    • There is a point to consider there. If the aromatherapy product involves actual plant oils rather than a synthetic chemical perfume, is there any risk in putting an infant in a situation where they could ingest plant proteins?

      Synthetic chemical scents while presumably not triggering an IgE response since they don’t contain proteins, might trigger some other specific chemical sensitivity (and so, I suppose, might plant-based perfume products in which the proteins are sufficiently denatured as to not trigger IgE responses, but some other plant chemistry might trigger a reaction).

      Or is a premature baby’s immune system insufficiently developed to respond in those ways? I don’t know, I don’t got me no book larnin’…..

  • The average gestational age of the infants was 32.5 ± 1.99 weeks.

    Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

    Which brings to mind: “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.”
    — “Star Trekkin'” by British novelty band The Firm.

    • Two questions come to mind, using other scents, and other ages.

      • So, ‘RG’ didn’t bother to read the study.

        In general, the results showed that aromatherapy is effective on sleep quality, which was consistent with previous studies. Arbianingsih conducted a research aimed at the effect of lavender aromatherapy massage in reducing sleep disorders in infants…

        The findings of Keyhanmehr’s study on the effect of aromatherapy with rose oil on children’s sleep quality…

        In another study, which was conducted by Hajibagheri under the title of investigating the effect of aromatherapy with rose water on the sleep status of patients admitted to the intensive care unit…

  • I think it would be correct to state that researchers may have found a purpose for rose-water 🤓

  • two drops of rose water were poured on gas and placed next to the babies’ heads

    I’ve quoted Edzard’s text there, but it’s also like that in the paper.

    It sounds like a difficult technique. Perhaps they meant “gauze”?

    • most likely

    • I noticed that. From the study [my bolding]:

      Infants were placed in a double-walled incubator. In the intervention group, two drops (0.1 cc) of Zahra organic rose water with 12 grades and in the control group, two drops of distilled water with a dropper and by a trained nurse were placed on a sterile pad at a distance of 30 cm from the baby’s head in a double walled incubator. Became [sic] every new born was exposed to a sterile pad containing rose water or distilled water for 60 minutes. The sleep quality of the baby during 20 minutes during sleep and 20 minutes after placing the pad was determined at intervals of every two minutes according to the ALS tool by direct observation of the researcher and recorded in the table.

      An observation rather than a criticism: I found many errors in the paper, the most annoying of which being that the reference numbers in the text do not align with the numbers in the references.

  • Aromatherapy in an orthopedic university clinic 👍

    “We also train our nursing team in topics such as palliative care, aromatherapy 👃📚🙇‍♂️ kinaesthetics and as practice instructors.”

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