The effect of topical application of lavender essential oil on the intensity of pain caused by the insertion of dialysis needles in hemodialysis patients: A randomized clinical trial

Complement Ther Med. 2015 Jun;23(3):325-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.03.001. Epub 2015 Mar 21.


Background: Patients undergoing hemodialysis experience constant fear and anxiety due to the pain of the insertion of dialysis needles, which might lead to certain physiological and psychological complications for them in the long term. It is therefore essential to control their pain through a simple, safe method.

Objective: The present study was conducted to determine the effect of the topical application of lavender essential oil on the intensity of pain during the insertion of dialysis needles in hemodialysis patients.

Design: This open crossover study was conducted on 34 hemodialysis patients with arteriovenous fistula (AVF) admitted to the dialysis unit of one of the hospitals of Semnan University of Medical Sciences in 2013. The intensity of pain was measured in all the patients in three different states during the insertion of arterial needles for hemodialysis: (1) The topical application of 100% lavender essential oil, (2) no intervention, (3) placebo (with water).

Main outcome measures: Pain intensity was measured in this study through the numeric rating scale (NRS) of pain.

Results: The findings showed that the mean±SD of pain intensity was 2.91±1.69 with the topical application of lavender, 4.59±2.02 in the no intervention state and 4.18±1.66 with the placebo state. Statistical tests showed a significant difference between the patients' intensity of pain in the three different states (p=0.001).

Conclusion: Based on the findings of the study, the topical application of lavender decreases moderate intensities of pain during the insertion of dialysis needles. Accordingly, lavender oil may be an option to reduce pain by insertion of hemodialysis needles.

Keywords: Hemodialysis; Lavender; Needle; Pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Aged
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lavandula
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needles / adverse effects*
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • lavender oil