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Hypertens Res. 2011 Feb;34(2):264-7. doi: 10.1038/hr.2010.228. Epub 2010 Nov 25.

Aromatherapy alleviates endothelial dysfunction of medical staff after night-shift work: preliminary observations.

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Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, Osaka Ekisaikai Hospital, Osaka, Japan.


Night-shift work causes mental stress and lifestyle changes, and is recognized as a risk of cardiovascular diseases associated with impaired endothelial function. Aromatherapy is becoming popular as a complementary therapy that is beneficial for mental relaxation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of aromatherapy on the endothelial function of medical staff after night-shift work. This study consisted of 19 healthy medical personnel (19 men, mean age 32 ± 7 years), including 11 physicians and 8 technicians. Aromatherapy was performed for 30 min by inhalation of the essential oil of lavender. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery was measured three times in each subject: on a regular workday, and after night-shift work before and immediately after aromatherapy. A control study was performed to assess the effect of a 30-min rest without aromatherapy. The mean value of sleep time during night-shift work was 3.3 ± 1.3 h. FMD after night-shift work was lower than on a regular workday (10.4 ± 1.8 vs. 12.5 ± 1.7%, P<0.001), which improved after aromatherapy (11.8 ± 2.5%, P=0.02 vs. before aromatherapy). FMD was stable in the control study (10.1 ± 1.9 vs. 10.1 ± 2.2%, P=0.9). This study demonstrated that night-shift work impaired endothelial function in medical staff, an effect that was alleviated by short-term aromatherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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