Controlled breathing with or without peppermint aromatherapy for postoperative nausea and/or vomiting symptom relief: a randomized controlled trial

J Perianesth Nurs. 2014 Feb;29(1):12-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jopan.2013.09.008.


Purpose: With little scientific evidence to support use of aromatherapy for postoperative nausea and/or vomiting (PONV) symptoms, this study evaluated controlled breathing with peppermint aromatherapy (AR) and controlled breathing alone (CB) for PONV relief.

Design: A single blind randomized control trial design was used.

Methods: On initial PONV complaint, symptomatic subjects received either CB (n = 16) or AR (n = 26) intervention based on randomization at enrollment. A second treatment was repeated at 5 minutes if indicated. Final assessment occurred 10 minutes post initial treatment. Rescue medication was offered for persistent symptoms.

Findings: Among eligible subjects, PONV incidence was 21.4% (42/196). Gender was the only risk factor contributing to PONV symptoms (P = .0024). Though not statistically significant, CB was more efficacious than AR, 62.5% versus 57.7%, respectively.

Conclusions: CB can be initiated without delay as an alternative to prescribed antiemetics. Data also support use of peppermint AR in conjunction with CB for PONV relief.

Keywords: aromatherapy; controlled breathing; peppermint; postoperative nausea and/or vomiting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aromatherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentha piperita*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / prevention & control*
  • Respiration*
  • Young Adult