Abstract # 150:

Scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation


The Effects of Aromatherapy on the Behavior and Psychological Well-being of Captive Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

A. Sak1,2, E. Videan1 and J. Fritz1
1Primate Foundation of Arizona, Primate Foundation of Arizona, PO Box 20027, Mesa, AZ 85277-0027, USA, 2University of Rochester
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     Humans have practiced aromatherapy for thousands of years, using essential oils to either stimulate or relax the mind and senses. In this study, we sought to determine the effectiveness of aromatherapy for therapeutic use and as a management tool for the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at the Primate Foundation of Arizona (PFA). Two essential oils were used; lavender-rose (predicted to have calming effects) and peppermint (predicted to have energetic effects). Prior to observations, 2.5 ounces of either an oil and water mixture (treatment) or water (baseline) was sprayed into the cages on bedding and benches. Instantaneous scan sampling, at 30-second intervals, was used to record the behavior of 14 adult chimpanzees (5 male, 9 female). Each individual was observed for 22.5 hours with 135 total observations, balanced for time of day. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to examine differences between the baseline and treatment observations. Results indicated a significant increase in inactivity (F = 16.826, P = 0.0001) and a decrease in both total activity (F = 14.612, P = 0.001) and object manipulation (F = 13.335, P = 0.001) with lavender-rose oil. There was a trend towards an increase in play with peppermint oil (F = 3.203, P = 0.085). There were also individual differences in the responses to the aromatherapy oils, indicating that customizing aromatherapy to individual needs could prove useful. In conclusion, lavender-rose oil produced behavioral changes indicative of calming while peppermint oil may have promoted behavior indicative of arousal, indicating possible therapeutic uses.