Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine if aromatherapy improves anxiety and/or depression in the high risk postpartum woman and to provide a complementary therapy tool for healthcare practitioners.
Design: The pilot study was observational with repeated measures.
Setting: Private consultation room in a Women's center of a large Indianapolis hospital.
Subjects: 28 women, 0-18 months postpartum.
Interventions: The treatment groups were randomized to either the inhalation group or the aromatherapy hand m'technique. Treatment consisted of 15 min sessions, twice a week for four consecutive weeks. An essential oil blend of rose otto and lavandula angustifolia @ 2% dilution was used in all treatments. The non-randomized control group, comprised of volunteers, was instructed to avoid aromatherapy use during the 4 week study period. Allopathic medical treatment continued for all participants.
Outcome measurements: All subjects completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7) at the beginning of the study. The scales were then repeated at the midway point (two weeks), and at the end of all treatments (four weeks).
Results: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was utilized to determine differences in EPDS and/or GAD-7 scores between the aromatherapy and control groups at baseline, midpoint and end of study. No significant differences were found between aromatherapy and control groups at baseline. The midpoint and final scores indicated that aromatherapy had significant improvements greater than the control group on both EPDS and GAD-7 scores. There were no adverse effects reported.
Conclusion: The pilot study indicates positive findings with minimal risk for the use of aromatherapy as a complementary therapy in both anxiety and depression scales with the postpartum woman. Future large scale research in aromatherapy with this population is recommended.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.