EFFECTS OF EQUINE AROMATHERAPY ON HEART-RATE VARIABILITY AND SALIVARY CORTISOL
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractThe objective of this project is to determine whether equine aromatherapy can optimize heart-rate variability parameters and decrease salivary cortisol levels. The protocol follows a crossover design with a treatment of humidified essential oil (Lavandula augustifolia and Chamaemelum nobile) and control of humidified air; HRV measurements for a sample size of 8 dressage horses in each study were collected by placing the respective Polar Equine monitors around the horse’s abdomen and recording for 7 minutes each at baseline, during treatment, immediately post-treatment, and 0.5 hour after each treatment. During the chamomile study, salivary cortisol levels were obtained by holding saliva swabs in the horse’s mouth for 60-90 sec. Statistically significant increases relative to baseline was discovered with RMSSD during lavender treatment and a statistically significant decrease for VLF during post-treatment in the lavender study; in the chamomile study, there was statistically significant increase in SDNN during post-treatment (p < 0.05).