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In the study, 100 spa workers in Taipei sat in a room and breathed in the vapours of bergamot oil - a concentrated, citrusy extract - for two hours, while researchers measured their blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air, website MyHealthNewsDaily reported.
During the first hour, the workers' blood pressure and heart rates went down. After 45 minutes, the average systolic blood pressure measurement had dropped by 2.10 mmHg, and the heart rate by 2.21 beats per minute. This finding agrees with some previous research showing essential oils relieve stress.
However, after 120 minutes, researchers saw the opposite effect. Systolic blood pressure not only returned to the baseline level, it had risen by about 2.19 mmHg, and the heart rate was 1.70 beats per minute higher than at baseline.