“Soothing”, “relaxing”, “reducing feelings of stress”, “promoting uplifting feelings”, etc. are terms often associated with the aromatic use of essential oils, and there is quite a bit of research to support those claims. But clinical research on the ability of essential oils to help us face challenges and cope with daily stressors – to adapt – is quite limited. At the 2019 Together Convention, Nicole Stevens, Director of Oil Research and Formulation, discussed how her team is changing that with a new proprietary blend and several innovative (albeit stressful) clinical trials.
The Adaptiv™ Calming Blend is the result of years of research and formulation. The final product is supported by clinical research conducted by doTERRA’s own team of research scientists. In preparation for the launch of the new Adaptiv line of products, doTERRA’s global campus was gassed with science as multiple clinical trials were underway. The Adaptiv study on essential oil blends was a milestone for doTERRA’s clinical research team; it involved a larger number of doTERRA scientists (over 10) than any other internal study, it was the first study to involve psychological elements (stress), it included the youngest research participants in any doTERRA study (as young as 12 years old), and it investigated something we all deal with: STRESS.
We will, we will…STRESS YOU
Participants in the Adaptiv trial were told only that they would be testing a new doTERRA product and that they first had to qualify to become a product tester by completing two assessments. Participants were randomized and placed in two separate rooms, one where Adaptiv was distributed and the other where a placebo was distributed. To the disgust of the participants, the assessments were a combination of math and word problems that gradually increased in difficulty. There were 15 questions in total with a time limit of 12 minutes. In addition, a countdown clock was projected onto the wall in each room. After completing one assessment, participants crossed over, went into the other room and took the other assessment. Over the course of both assessments, each person wore a pulse oximeter to measure his or her heart rate and a temperature strip on the forehead to measure autonomic response to the stress-inducing environment. After the assessments, all participants answered a series of questions about how they felt during the test.
What have we found?
The results surprised even those involved in formulating the Adaptiv mix. Although the final statistical analysis is currently underway, some trends were clear from the initial data. Nicole Stevens noted such a trend during her 2019 Together Convention presentation. With regard to test scores, none of which were very high given the difficulty of the test, many participants still scored higher when taking the test in the Adaptiv room. Average heart rates were also lower and more consistent when Adaptiv was distributed.
Most interesting were the subjective assessments. There are objective physiological markers of stress (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, etc.), but stress is also psychological; if you feel less stressed…well, you’re less stressed. Participants self-reported that they had less stress and anxious feelings when taking the assessment in the Adaptiv room, even though they had no idea what room they were in or what was being distributed. There was also a small group of participants who participated in a comprehensive clinical study with the Adaptiv™Calming Blend Capsules. These particular participants reported the lowest stress levels of all. Since the products were formulated to be used together, the potential synergy between the oil blend and the supplement was exactly what we expected (and hoped) to see.
But, the smell?
Remember, the study participants volunteered because they were told they would be product testers, and that we would not let them down. After the testing portion, participants were presented with three separate blends and asked how they liked each blend and how it affected their feelings. The real Adaptiv was the clear winner, with most participants giving it an 8 or 9 (on a scale of 1-9). To complete the product test, participants were asked to describe how the smell of all three essential oil blends made them feel. Remember, they had not been told what the name of the product was, which of the three was Adaptiv, or what the intended benefit of Adaptiv was. The words calm, content, positive and happy came up repeatedly.
What comes next?
The evaluation of the Adaptiv product line did not end with this stressful clinical trial. DoTERRA scientists were also busy researching the effectiveness of the oil blend in an institutional setting, conducted a clinical trial with 80 participants in the supplement, and worked with our research partners to conduct a proteomic evaluation of how the capsules affected brain cells at the molecular level. All data are currently undergoing final statistical analysis and will hopefully be published in a scientific journal for the general public in the near future. Don’t forget to follow doTERRA Science on social media for updates on the publication.
The Adaptiv Calming Blend is the precise solution to help you cope with the stressors of everyday life. Whether it’s a difficult test or just a normal life, put a few drops of Adaptiv into the diffuser to induce feelings of calm and relaxation, and help the body and mind stay balanced.