The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

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    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Lavender baths lower stress in mother and child

    Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida report that adding lavender-scented bath oil to the infant bath results in lower stress in the mother and child, less crying, and better sleep.

    First, the details, thanks to HerbClip.

    • 30 mothers and their infants (up to 4.5 months old) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups.
      • Lavender-scented bath oil group
      • Non-scented bath oil group
      • Lavender-scented bath oil group where the mothers received advertising information — lavender aroma bath oil “helps calm babies when they get irritated or helps settle them down before bedtime.”
    • A research assistant prepared the baths.
    • The mothers bathed their infants.
    • After the bath, the mothers dried their babies and placed them in a bassinet to sleep before leaving the room.
    • Saliva samples to measure cortisol levels as a marker of stress were collected from the mothers and infants before and 20 minutes after the bath.

    And, the results.

    • Mothers in the lavender aroma and the non-aroma groups were significantly more relaxed during the bath than mothers in the lavender aroma + advertising group.
    • Mothers in the lavender aroma group smiled and touched their infants significantly more than those in the non-aroma group.
    • Infants in the lavender aroma group looked at their mothers significantly more than those in the non-aroma group and the lavender aroma + advertising groups.
    • Infants in the lavender aroma group were in a deep sleep significantly more than infants in the non-aroma group.
    • Infants in the lavender aroma group cried significantly less following the bath than the infants in the non-aroma group.
    • The infants in the lavender aroma + advertising group were not significantly different from the other groups in terms of sleep or crying.
    • Mothers and the infants were significantly less stressed following the lavender aroma baths.

    The bottom line?
    The authors think that the poorer outcomes in the lavender + advertising group was possibly due to performance anxiety after hearing the advertising information.

    They concluded, “Infants with irritability and sleep problems could be calmed by this aroma and may experience more restful sleep.”

    Ms. Marissa Oppel, writing for HerbClip adds, “The lavender scent was never chemically defined by the authors and cannot be construed to be lavender essential oil.”

    8/2/08 14:01 JR

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