478241851Women who received lavender aromatherapy after undergoing cesarean surgery had less postoperative pain, decreased heart rate and greater satisfaction with their pain management as opposed to women who received a placebo form of aromatherapy, according to recent research.

The study, “The Effect of Inhalation of Aromatherapy Blend containing Lavender Essential Oil on Cesarean Postoperative Pain,” involved 60 women who were in the hospital for cesarean surgery. These women were randomly divided into two groups: lavender aromatherapy group and placebo group.

The lavender and placebo aromatherapy sessions were administered the same way. The first session took place at the onset of postoperative pain, and then again four, eight and 12 hours later. Three drops of an aromatherapy blend containing lavender essential oil—or in the case of the placebo group, a blend that looked and smelled similar to the lavender essential oil—were poured onto cotton in a cast container. The women then were instructed to inhale the aroma for five minutes from a distance of 10 centimeters.

Before and after each of the four aromatherapy or placebo sessions, subjects rated their pain level via a visual analog scale. Heart rate, blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and satisfaction also were assessed and recorded before and after each aromatherapy or placebo session.

Results of the research revealed that women in the lavender aromatherapy group reported significantly lower levels of pain four, eight and 12 hours after the first session, as compared to those in the placebo group. The researchers also found that the level of satisfaction with the aromatherapy intervention was 90 percent among women in the lavender aromatherapy group and 50 percent among women in the placebo group.

In the lavender aromatherapy group, the use of Diclofenac suppositories to provide greater pain relief was 43.3 percent, whereas the use of these additional analgesics was 76.7 percent in the placebo group. Women in the lavender group also showed a greater decrease in heart rate after the aromatherapy interventions as compared to the placebo group.

“The inhaled lavender essence may be used as part of the multidisciplinary treatment of pain after cesarean section,” conclude the study’s authors, “but it is not recommended as the sole pain management.”


Authors: Alireza Olapour, Kaveh Behaeen, Reza Akhondzadeh, Farhad Soltani, Forough al Sadat Razavi and Reza Bekhradi.

Sources: Department of Anesthesiology, Golestan Hospital, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran; and Barij Essence Research and Development Centre, Kashan, Iran. Originally published in 2013 in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, 3(1), 203-207.