The Effects of Inhalation Aromatherapy on Postoperative Abdominal Pain: A Three-Arm Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

Published:November 21, 2020DOI:



      This study compares the effects of inhalation aromatherapy using essential oils of sweet orange and damask rose on postoperative abdominal pain.


      A randomized three-arm controlled trial.


      In this randomized double-blinded, and parallel-group controlled trial, a total of 120 patients who underwent open abdominal surgeries were enrolled using a sequential sampling method. Participants were then randomly assigned to three groups of sweet orange, damask rose, and placebo (distilled water) using the permuted block randomization. When the patients regained full consciousness, a clean gauze impregnated with four drops of either distilled water or essential oils of sweet orange or damask rose were attached to the collar of the patients, and they were asked to inhale the aroma through normal breathing for 30 minutes. Abdominal pain severity was recorded using the visual analog scale at four time points including before the intervention (baseline) and 4, 8, and 12 hours after the intervention.


      Pain reduction after sweet orange inhalation was significantly greater than placebo (at 8 and 12 hours after the intervention) and damask rose (at 12 hours after the intervention). The differences in the mean score of pain severity between all before-and-after observations were statistically significant in the three groups, except in the placebo group between the baseline score of pain severity and the pain severity score at 4 hours after the intervention.


      Inhalation aromatherapy using sweet orange seems to be more effective than the damask rose in reducing pain severity after open abdominal surgeries.


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