Objective: Two important aspects of psychological well-being are positive mood state and a positive outlook with respect to the future. This study investigates the use of lavender baths to improve these aspects of psychological well-being.
Design: A single blind, randomised control trial.
Setting: The participants' home and interview rooms at the University of Wolverhampton.
Participants: Eighty women not receiving treatment for psychological disorders who were staff or students at the University of Wolverhampton. Forty participated in Study 1 and 40 in Study 2.
Intervention: Participants were randomly allocated to use either grapeseed oil or 80% grapeseed oil and 20% lavender oil in their bath for 14 days.
Main outcome measures: In Study 1, the UWIST mood adjective checklist. In Study 2, the MacLeod and Byrne Future Events procedure.
Results: In Study 1 psychologically positive mood changes were found after the bathing regimen for energetic arousal, tense arousal, hedonic tone and anger-frustration. Only anger-frustration showed a selective effect for lavender oil. In the second study negative responses about the future were selectively reduced after lavender oil baths.
Conclusions: These results are encouraging and suggest further investigation using potential patients may result in the development of a useful procedure for improving psychological well-being.