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The Effects of Smell on Mood and Physical Responses

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00097253
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : November 22, 2004
Results First Posted : February 4, 2010
Last Update Posted : February 18, 2010
Sponsor:
Information provided by:
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to examine the body's response to relaxing and stimulating fragrances commonly used in aromatherapy.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Stress Anxiety Depression Behavioral: Exposure to relaxant and stimulant odors Phase 1

Detailed Description:

Despite aromatherapy's popularity, efficacy data are scant, and potential mechanisms are controversial. This randomized controlled trial examined the psychological, autonomic, endocrine, and immune consequences of one purported relaxant odor (lavender), one stimulant odor (lemon), and a no-odor control (water), before and after a stressor (cold pressor); 56 healthy men and women were exposed to each of the odors during three separate visits. To assess the effects of expectancies, participants randomized to the "blind" condition were given no information about the odors they would smell; "primed" individuals were told what odors they would smell during the session, and what changes to expect. Experimenters were blind.

In each case we measured several different aspects of the cellular immune response, as well as skin barrier repair following tape stripping. This design allowed us to examine the ability of the odors to modulate endocrine and immune function, and health-relevant cutaneous responses.


Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 56 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Psychoneuroimmunology and Mind-Body Medicine: Olfaction, Mood, and Physiological Responses
Study Start Date : August 2005
Primary Completion Date : March 2006
Study Completion Date : March 2006

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Lavender Behavioral: Exposure to relaxant and stimulant odors
A yellow-tinted cotton ball containing 100 ml of the essential oil or distilled water was taped between the nose and upper lip on top of a piece of surgical tape; use of the barrier tape avoided percutaneous absorption . This method provided continuous and uniform exposure across subjects that would not have been possible with ambient room inhalation, and helped maintain experimenter blindness.
Other Name: Citrus: lemon.
Experimental: Citrus Behavioral: Exposure to relaxant and stimulant odors
A yellow-tinted cotton ball containing 100 ml of the essential oil or distilled water was taped between the nose and upper lip on top of a piece of surgical tape; use of the barrier tape avoided percutaneous absorption . This method provided continuous and uniform exposure across subjects that would not have been possible with ambient room inhalation, and helped maintain experimenter blindness.
Other Name: Citrus: lemon.
Placebo Comparator: Water Behavioral: Exposure to relaxant and stimulant odors
A yellow-tinted cotton ball containing 100 ml of the essential oil or distilled water was taped between the nose and upper lip on top of a piece of surgical tape; use of the barrier tape avoided percutaneous absorption . This method provided continuous and uniform exposure across subjects that would not have been possible with ambient room inhalation, and helped maintain experimenter blindness.
Other Name: Citrus: lemon.



Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Cortisol and Catecholamine Production [ Time Frame: 3 Visits with at least 2 weeks between each. Average time to complete all visits was 64.46 days (SD 48.4). Cortisol: 9:05, 10:05, 10:55, 11:45, 12:15, 13:00. Nor/Epi: 9:05, 10:05, 10:55, 11:05, 11:45, 12:15 ]
  2. Immune Function [ Time Frame: 3 Visits with at least 2 weeks between each. Average time to complete all visits was 64.46 days (SD 48.4). 9:05, 10:05, 11:45 ]
  3. Skin Barrier Repair [ Time Frame: 3 Visits with at least 2 weeks between each. Average time to complete all visits was 64.46 days (SD 48.4).10:05, 11:45, 13:15 ]
  4. Immune Function: Delayed Hypersensitivity to Candida(DTH) [ Time Frame: Day 1 11:45, Day 2 (24h) 11:45, Day 3 (48h) 11:45, Day 4 (72h) 11:45. ]


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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 44 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Healthy adults with a normal sense of smell

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Treatment with medication that has immunological or endocrinological consequences
  • Chronic health problems that affect immune or endocrine systems
  • Allergy to perfume or cosmetics
  • Problems with sense of smell
  • Respiratory problems
  • Smoker
  • Current active asthma
  • Use of psychoactive drugs or mood-altering medication
  • History of anxiety disorder, major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other psychotic disorders
  • History of chest pain or ventricular fibrillation

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00097253


Locations
United States, Ohio
Ohio State University Institute for Biobehavioral Medicine Research
Columbus, Ohio, United States, 43210
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD Ohio State University Institute for Biobehavioral Medicine Research

Additional Information:
Publications:
Responsible Party: Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, The Ohio State University, Department of Psychiatry
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00097253     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R21AT002122-01 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: November 22, 2004    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: February 4, 2010
Last Update Posted: February 18, 2010
Last Verified: February 2010

Keywords provided by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):
Aromatherapy
Smell