January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Behavioral Neuroscience


Oregon Health & Science University


Objective. Aromatherapy is commonly used for stress relief, yet the evidence for its effectiveness is weak due to the poor quality of previous studies and lack of understanding for the aromatherapy mechanism. The main goal of this work was to use a rigorous randomized control trial (RCT) design to assess effects of a popular stress-reducing aromatherapy on subjective, physiologic, and cognitive measures sensitive to stress. Additionally, the study evaluated the role of a psychological mechanism (expectancy) in aromatherapy actions. Methods. Ninety-two healthy adults were randomized to 3 groups based on aroma type (experimental lavender aroma, detectable coconut placebo aroma, and undetectable water placebo aroma) to evaluate efficacy of lavender aromatherapy compared to the placebo groups. Detectable placebo aroma was utilized to test the role of aroma-mediated expectancy in aromatherapy actions. Additionally, participants in each group were randomized to one of two subgroups: either r




School of Medicine



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