Lavender Oil & Fall Prevention
One randomized controlled study published by the Journal of American Geriatrics Society in 2012, found that nursing home residents who received continuous olfactory stimulation via an attached lavender patch reduced fall risk by a staggering 43% and the number of falls per person by 49% over the placebo group. 1
Location: Northern Japan
145 Study Participants Aged 65+
3 Nursing Homes
43% Reduced fall risk.
49% Reduced number of falls per person.
Further research that may help explain these results found that lavender when ingested aromatically can act as a stimulus to several parts of the brain including the orbitofrontal cortex involved in cognitive processing and decision-making; and the entorhinal cortex, a key player in spatial memory. 2 3 4 5
In other words, the nose may know! The research thus far is promising in support of improved motor skills while “under the influence” of lavender, and certainly warrants additional research and replication.
This sparked a few ideas as to how to replicate these effects, so I put together a little gift package for someone special in my life. After speaking with a few essential oil experts, I also learned that leather would work just as well as a lava rock for a more earthy, understated wearable.. If you’d like to replicate my exact gift, see below for links!
- Sakamoto, Y., Ebihara, S., Ebihara, T., Tomita, N., Toba, K., Freeman, S., Arai, H., and Kohzuki, M. Fall prevention using olfactory stimulation with lavender odor in elderly nursing home residents: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Geriatr.Soc 2012;60(6):1005-1011.
- D. M. Small, J. C. Gerber, Y. E. Mak, and T. Hummel, “Differential neural responses evoked by orthonasal versus retronasal odorant perception in humans,” Neuron, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 593–605, 2005.
- J. Wang, P. J. Eslinger, M. B. Smith, and Q. X. Yang, “Functional magnetic resonance imaging study of human olfaction and normal aging,” Journals of Gerontology A, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 510–514, 2005.
- W. Di Nardo, S. Di Girolamo, A. Galli, G. Meduri, G. Paludetti, and G. de Rossi, “Olfactory function evaluated by SPECT,” American Journal of Rhinology, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 57–61, 2000.
- X. Duan, M. Tashiro, D. Wu et al., “Autonomic nervous function and localization of cerebral activity during lavender aromatic immersion,” Technology and Health Care, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 69–78, 2007.