Exams at school, at work or during our life, we may experience often periods that require all our concentration, time and energy to make decisions, to find solutions or defend ourselves. This can generate anxiety and stress, making us feel uncomfortable with also a negative impact on our ability to act, learn and focus our attention. But a powerful help may come from music and aromatherapy. This is the result of very recent research published by a Korean team (Hae Kyoung Son et al, Int J Environ Res Public Health., 2019).
The researchers recruited 100 students from the nursing faculty. Because of their work, these people are under a lot of pressure and stress and anxiety can reduce their ability to store information and use it when needed. The study participants were divided into three groups. The first group was asked to inhale the scents of the essential oils of marjoram and sweet orange for twenty minutes, mixed in equal parts and diffused in the room with an oil burner. The second group was asked to listen, for twenty minutes, to the opera Moonlight Sonata composed by Beethoven, which, in a previous study, had already shown to improve blood pressure, heart rate and stress. Finally, the third group was asked both to inhale the aromas of the essential oils of marjoram and sweet orange and to listen to the Sonata music, again for twenty minutes. Then, all participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire to assess their levels of anxiety and stress. Finally, specific skills were also assessed with a practical test. What emerged was that, compared to the other two groups, a significant decrease in anxiety and stress was observed in the group that underwent both aromatherapy and music therapy. Not only that, practical skills were also improved in this group. So, taking together aromatherapy and musictherapy, especially Beethoven's sonata, helps to counteract stress rather than the single interventions.