The Effects of Essential Oils on Perception of Exertion and Task Pleasantness


  • Katelyn Koser West Chester University
  • Nicholas Madara West Chester University
  • Lindsey Keenan West Chester University
  • Lawrence Judge Ball State University
  • Olivia Huffman Ball State University
  • Selen Razon West Chester University


exercise, environment, self-efficacy, enjoyment, performance


Purpose: The current study sought to test the effects of essential oils on perception of exertion and exercise task pleasantness. Method: Thirty college students (24 females, 6 males) were recruited to perform a handgrip task. Participants were randomly assigned to placebo, bergamot odor, and peppermint odor groups. Adhesive strips were placed under the noses of all participants, with participants in the latter two groups having strips containing essential oils. The placebo group had a strip with no odor. After establishing a maximal voluntary contraction level, participants performed at 30% of their maximum for as long as they could tolerate, during which they provided ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) at 30 second intervals. Task-specific self-efficacy and Pleasantness were evaluated post-task. Results: One-way ANOVA analyses failed to reveal significant differences among the groups on session RPE, total grip time, and grip time up to and after RPE. Statistical differences were found between placebo and essential oil groups regarding task pleasantness. The placebo group reported higher pleasantness scores than essential oil groups. Conclusion: Although nonsignificant, findings suggest that bergamot essential oil may provide a more pleasant exercise experience than peppermint essential oil. This work expands the knowledge on the relationships between essential oils. 


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Author Biographies

Katelyn Koser, West Chester University

Department of Kinesiology

Nicholas Madara, West Chester University

Department of Kinesiology

Lindsey Keenan, West Chester University

Department of Sport Medicine

Lawrence Judge, Ball State University

School of Kinesiology

Olivia Huffman, Ball State University

School of Kinesiology

Selen Razon, West Chester University

Department of Kinesiology


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How to Cite

Koser, K. ., Madara, N., Keenan, L., Judge, L., Huffman, O., & Razon, S. (2022). The Effects of Essential Oils on Perception of Exertion and Task Pleasantness . Journal of Health and Physical Literacy, 1(2), 104–121. Retrieved from



Original Research