Effects of essential oils and touch on resistance to nursing care procedures and other dementia-related behaviours in a residential care facility

E. Joy Bowles, Dilys Griffiths, Letita Quirk, Anne Brownrigg, Karen Croot

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    31 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Essential oils of lavender, sweet marjoram, patchouli and vetiver were blended into an aqueous cream (content of essential oil blend = 3.5 ml/100 g aqueous cream) and 5 g was gently massaged five times/day onto the bodies and limbs of 56 aged care facility residents (age range 70-92 years) with moderate to severe dementia. Participants were divided into two groups and following a baseline period in which there was first no massage at all, followed by massage with cream only, the groups received 4 weeks of massage with cream and essential oils or 4 weeks of massage with cream alone, and then received the other treatment for 4 weeks. Full data sets over the trial period were available for 36 participants. During the period of oil application, both groups showed a significant decrease in the average frequency and severity of dementia-related behaviours occurring at times other than during nursing care, compared to during the baseline and the 'no oil' periods. Resistance to nursing care procedures increased, however, for participants in one of the groups during the essential oil application period, which may reflect increased mental alertness and awareness caused by the oils. A possible increase in mental alertness and cognitive function was also suggested by a small but significant improvement in Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores after the essential oil treatment period for the seven residents who scored above 0 on the MMSE.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)22-29
    Number of pages8
    JournalThe International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics: exploring the bioactivity of aromatic plants
    Volume12
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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