Background: Essential oils were proven to possess analgesic activity in adults. Children with diabetes are exposed to highly painful interventions such as self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG).
Objective: An evaluation of the analgesic properties of two essential oils during SMBG in diabetic children.
Subjects: We included 73 hospitalized children (age<18 years) with well-controlled type 1 diabetes.
Methods: The study extended over a period of 1 month (2 weeks for control group and 1 week for orange and lavender oil application). The measurements were performed four times per day in a shared room during SMBG. Pain intensity was evaluated by visual analog scale (VAS) and change of baseline heart rate (ΔHR%). An aromatherapy device was used to disperse essential oils in the testing room.
Results: We performed 647 individual measurements of pain intensity and ΔHR%. Girls reported higher VAS scores [median, Me 0.5 (interquartile range, IQR 0–1) vs. 0 (IQR 0–0.5), p=0.0036]. Both age and duration of diabetes correlated with ΔHR% [r=–0.14, p=0.0005; r=–0.12, p=0.0025]. Negative correlations were also noted for VAS/age [r=–0.12, p=0.0030] and VAS/duration of diabetes [r=–0.12, p=0.0034]. Aromatherapy did not alter the VAS score (p=0.40), while ΔHR% decreased with borderline significance (p=0.0639). After adjustment for patient’s age and sex lower ΔHR% was associated with essential oil application (p=0.0252). Aromatherapy did not have any influence on VAS scores in multivariate analysis (p=0.35).
Conclusion: Aromatherapy decreased the autonomic response to a painful stimulus by lowering ΔHR%, but did not affect the perception of pain reported by VAS.
The authors would like to thank Dr. Vishnu Pradeep for correcting the English.
Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this article.
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