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Article Title

EFFECTS OF PEPPERMINT AND LAVENDER OIL ON MOOD AND PERCEIVED EXERTION DURING EXERCISE

Abstract

K. Dennis, E. Anderson, E. Kahler, W.M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Use of essential oils, such as peppermint and lavender, via aromatherapy appears to be growing, especially in naturopathic and alternative medicine. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to compare the effects of peppermint oil and lavender oil on mood and rate of perceived exertion during aerobic exercise. METHODS: Ten healthy, moderately active male (n = 3) and female (n = 7) college students 18-25 y, attended three testing sessions where they completed a 15 min run on a treadmill at their own preferred pace and intensity. For all three sessions, the participants completed a Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire before and after exercise, while rate of perceived exertion (RPE) was measured every 3 min during exercise. No essential oils were administered during one testing session (C). During another testing session, a piece of gauze with four drops of peppermint oil (P) was attached to participants’ shirt collars during exercise. During another session, a piece of gauze with four drops of lavender oil (L) was attached to participants’ shirt collars during exercise. The conditions of the sessions were randomly assigned between participants and exercise intensity was standardized across sessions based upon the intensity participants chose in their first session. Factorial ANOVAs (p ≤ 0.05) were utilized to determine the existence of significant differences between conditions. RESULTS: No statistical differences were observed between odor conditions on POMS during exercise for all dependent variables (p = 0.241; pre-POMS - C: 92.8 ± 21.3, L: 92.0 ± 15.4, P: 87.4 ± 8.8; post-POMS - C: 99.7 ± 18.5, L: 88.5 ± 5.5, P: 87.3 ± 13.9). No statistical differences were observed between odor conditions on RPE during exercise for all dependent variables (p = 0.828; C: 10.4 ± 1.7, P: 10.1 ± 1.4, L: 10.0 ± 1.6). CONCLUSION: Under these research conditions, administration of essential oils did not affect POMS and RPE. The primary explanation for the observed results may have been the small sample size. A secondary explanation may be that the method of essential oil delivery was not strong enough to elicit a physiological change. Further research is needed to determine the efficacy of essential oils for mood and perceived during exercise.

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