K. Rambo, E. Boles, E. Brent, W.M. Silvers

Whitworth University, Spokane, WA

Aromatherapy with peppermint oil has some documented physiological benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and vasodilator properties, which may affect athletic performance. The arousal effects of peppermint oil may benefit athletes, such as swimmers, who must perform explosive jumps. However, evidence to support the effectiveness of peppermint oil on vertical jump performance has been equivocal. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of peppermint oil aromatherapy on vertical jump performance in NCAA Division III swimmers. METHODS: Nine (nm = 5, nf = 4) competitive swimmer undergraduate students participated in this study. The participants were between the ages of 18-21-y. Participants performed two test sessions, each of which consisted of three countermovement vertical jumps with 30-s rest between each jump. The test sessions were completed with and without the use of peppermint oil, assigned in random order. In the experimental peppermint oil test sessions participants were given a protective ear-loop face mask with 3-drops of 100% peppermint oil applied below the nose. In the control test sessions, no peppermint oil was applied to the mask. The face mask was placed on the participants for 10-min before the completion of vertical jumps. A dependent group t-test (p ≤ 0.05) was utilized to compare vertical jump height with and without the use of peppermint oil. RESULTS: In the experimental peppermint oil test session, participants mean score was 46.9 ± 11.2-cm and in the control non- peppermint oil test session, participants mean score was 47.8 ± 10.2-cm. No statistically significant difference was observed (p = 0.544) between performance obtained from the experimental peppermint oil and control non-peppermint oil conditions. CONCLUSION: In the present study, vertical jump performance did not significantly improve with the presence of peppermint oil compared to control session. The primary explanation for the observed findings was the method of administration of peppermint oil, relative to similar aromatherapy studies. Due to the high observed beta (b = 0.96), there was a high probability a Type II error was committed. Further research is needed to investigate the appropriate method of administration of peppermint oil to enhance vertical jump performance in collegiate swimmers.

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