For centuries, aromatherapy using orange oil has been heralded in traditional herbalism for its ability to alleviate anxiety. Research published in the journal Advanced Biomedical Research now finds that aromatherapy using the same ingredient can significantly reduce a child’s anxiety at the dentist’s office.
The study, conducted at Iran’s Isfahan University of Medical Sciences and published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Biomedical Research, tested 10 boys and 20 girls between 6 and 9 years old. In this crossover design study, participants were assigned randomly into two groups. Half the children were treated with water instead of any essential oil (control) initially and received orange aroma in the second session (intervention). Another 15 children received treatment under orange aroma in the first encounter (intervention) and were treated without any aroma the second time (control). When the children were given orange oil aromatherapy, they experienced significantly reduced heart rates and lower salivary cortisol levels compared with those not receiving it.
The results corroborate findings from a 2000 study from the University of Vienna, in Austria, published in Physiology and Behavior.