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Aromatherapy: Decreasing Perceived Waiting Times by 20%

A waiting room is one of the most important and influential spaces in a healthcare experience. Patients often spend large amounts of time in waiting areas, often longer than their appointment.1 This waiting time is often unavoidable but directly relates to the overall satisfaction a patient has for a service and experience.


  • Perceived waiting times decreased by 20%
  • 63% Decreased Anxiety
  • Decrease in aggression or aggressive behaviours
  • 47% more likely to return

The Research…

In the eyes of the patient there is a vast difference between actual the waiting time and the perceived duration, that is, the subjective estimate of their waiting time.2 By utilizing aromatherapy, we can not only decrease this perceived waiting time but also decrease aggression, reduce anxiety and improve the evaluations of a patient’s experience.

A study at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, in 2014 found that “perceived waiting times were decreased with the presence of scent”. It was also noted that under the presence of an orange and lavender aroma participants rated the waiting room as wider, warmer, more relaxing and pleasant. The most notable result was between the control group and the lavender group where the perceived waiting times were decreased by up to 20%.3

An attractive and pleasant waiting environment positively influences a patient’s satisfaction of your service and their perceive waiting times.4 Connecting with your patients sense of smell is the easiest way to connect directly with their emotions, opinions, moods and feelings. The use of scent can vastly improve how patients and visitors perceive the quality of your practice.

The calming properties of our essential oil aromas can be a crucial element used for soothing patients or visitors during highly stressful situations; such as impending surgeries, appointments or procedures. A New York study looked to discover the impacts of a vanilla aroma on 70 outpatients before undergoing an MRI at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The study concluded that the administration of a fragrance was associated with 63% less anxiety than that of the control group.5

Through aromatherapy and ambient scenting, we make your patients feel more relaxed and delighted with your practice. In fact, 47% of people would return to a business due to its fragrance6 . This means that a pleasant, stress free and relaxing healthcare experience with limited perceived waiting times is sure to see your patients continually to returning to your practice.

Let Scent Central transform your waiting room and practice with our specific tailored essential oil solutions. Book a free consultation today.


F Becker, B Sweeney, K Parsons, (2008). Ambulatory facility design and patients’ percep­tions of healthcare quality. Health Environments Research & Design Journal, 1(4),35–54.

Hornik, J. (984). Subjective vs. objective time measures: A note on the perception of time in consumer behaviour. Journal of Consumer Research, 11, 614–618.

Vilaplana A, Yamanaka T; The waiting room: Improving space through smell, University of Tsukuba June 2014.

Pruyn, A., & Smidts, A. (1993). Customers’ evaluations of queues: Three exploratory studies. In W. F. van Raaij & G. Bamossy (Eds.), European advances in consumer research (Vol. 1) (pp. 371–382). Provo, UT: Association of Consumer Research.

Redd WH(1), Manne SL, Peters B, Jacobsen PB, Schmidt H; Fragrance administration to reduce anxiety during MR imaging., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; 1994 Jul-Aug;4(4):623-6

Lehrner, J. ,Marwinski, G. ,Lehr, S., Johren, P. & Deecke, L; AAmbient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office, University Clinic of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria, 2005 Oct 1-15;71(1-2):83-6.

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