Lavender Aromatherapy and Labor Pain

Pain specialists rank the pain of delivery among the most severe in the human experience. To mitigate it, women at term use many treatments, including massage therapy, deep-breathing exercises, hypnotism, acupuncture, pain drugs, and anesthesia. Iranian investigators wondered if aromatherapy with lavender oil {Lavandula angustifolia} might also help.

The essential oil of lavender is a mainstay of aromatherapy. Many studies have shown that inhaling the pleasant fragrance helps treat stress, anxiety, and pain – even at concentrations so low it can barely be detected. Previous studies demonstrated that lavender aromatherapy relieves some of the pain of Caesarean section delivery and episiotomy. But other trials have shown no delivery-related benefits.

120 women pregnant for the first time participated in this study, published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. During labor, they rubbed either water or lavender between their hands. In the herb group, the fragrance filled the birth room. The aromatherapy group reported significantly less labor pain {p<0.001}.

Essential oil of lavender is highly concentrated. A drop or two is all it takes to noticeably reduce most pain. Essential oils are also highly toxic. Ingesting as little as a teaspoon can kill a child. Always keep essential oils out of the reach of children.


Aromatherapy: The Sweet Smell of Pain Relief

Lavender essential oil has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory chemicals; it can soothe the soul and alleviate pain.
Ever thought of using your nose to help ease your pain?
Volatiles in essential oils can easily enter your body via your olfactory system and adjust brain electrical activity to alter your perception of pain.
Clinical aromatherapists commonly use lavender, peppermint, chamomile, and damask rose for pain relief and relaxation.
A report from Nursing Clinics of North America says that massage with lavender relieves pain and enhances the effect of orthodox pain medication. Lavender and chamomile oils are gentle enough to be used with children and, in blends, have relieved children’s pain from HIV, encephalopathy-induced muscle spasm, and nerve pain. Both oils contain anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic chemicals, and exert sedative, calming action.
Rose essential oil contains pain-reducing eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, and geraniol; but the report’s author suggests it may also alter the perception of pain because it embodies the soothing aromas of the garden.

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