Comparison of Essential Oils and Relaxing Music on Reducing Anxiety
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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The purpose of this research is to identify any significant difference between two forms of alternative medicine (aromatherapy and music therapy) and the body’s ability to relax unaided, in an attempt to discern if one has greater efficacy. We hypothesized that aromatherapy would be more effective than music therapy at reducing biomarker levels which correlate to anxiety. Ten students (five male and five female) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Physiology 435 class volunteered to take part in this study. Measurements of participants’ heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), and respiratory rate (RR) were recorded after exercise induced anxiety. During the post-exercise relaxation period, participants were exposed to three forms of experimental stimuli in three separate trials: no stimuli (control), lavender (aromatherapy), and “Weightless” by Marconi Union (music therapy). Measurements of HR, BP, and RR were then taken again. Statistical analysis of the experimental data compared the three trials to each other in four categories: systolic BP, diastolic BP, HR, and RR. Between each comparison no significant difference was found between any of the trials. These findings conclude that our initial hypothesis was incorrect and there is no greater efficacy between either stimuli. While many studies have found these alternative treatments to be effective in lowering anxiety, this may be due to a placebo effect or differences in methodology. In an attempt to resolve this, we suggest that future research should focus on quantifying the effect that a subject’s expectations may have on their levels of relaxation, as well as altering methodology.