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Why Aromatherapy Can Destroy Stress In The Clinical Setting

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What is the Joint Commission, and Why Is It Important for Nurses?

Not only can patients benefit from aromatherapy, but nurses can too.

A variety of studies have been done on the potential benefits of aromatherapy, which generally conclude that it effectively is able to reduce stress and anxiety.

Why Aromatherapy Can Destroy Stress In The Clinical Setting

What is aromatherapy?

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy defines aromatherapy (or essential oil therapy) as “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize, and promote the health of body and mind.”

Essential oils come from various parts of plants and are required to meet specific criteria to earn the label of “therapeutic-grade.”

Diffusing these oils and inhaling the scents is what constitutes aromatherapy.
 
How many essential oils are there?
The number of essential oils seems endless! There are a wide variety of oils in circulation, but they can all be classified into six categories:
1. Mints (e.g. Peppermint, wintergreen)
2. Citrus (e.g. Grapefruit, lemon)
3. Spices (e.g. Cinnamon, clove)
4. Herbs & Grasses (e.g.Thyme, rosemary)
5. Trees (e.g. Eucalyptus, cypress)
6. Florals (e.g. Lavender, jasmine)
Among essential oil experts, each category has oils that are used for specific purposes.

Aromatherapy in the clinical setting

While results have varied from study to study, several studies have shown positive outcomes with aromatherapy and patients in the clinical setting.
A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2013 found that using lavender, roman chamomile, and neroli for aromatherapy among percutaneous coronary intervention patients in the ICU effectively reduced anxiety levels and improved sleep quality.
 

Why Aromatherapy Can Destroy Stress In The Clinical Setting

Can aromatherapy positively affect nurses?

Let’s face it, nurses work in outrageously stressful conditions. Could diffusing certain essential oils at work decrease perceived stress levels?
 
A study found in the International Journal of Nursing Practice reviewed the effects of aromatherapy on job stress symptoms among a group of nurses. The study found that the nurses that wore a small lavender bottle and inhaled the scent over several days saw a significant reduction in stress symptoms compared to the control group.
 
Another study observed the effect of aromatherapy on stress levels of nurses working in the operating room. Subjective stress, stress responses, and job stress were all measured. All three measures were found to be lower in the experimental group. Results concluded that aromatherapy could be a form of effective stress relief for operating room nurses.
 

Takeaway

While the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy need to be studied in more depth, current research shows plenty of promise. Nurses should consider incorporating aromatherapy into their daily work routine to help destroy the stress that accompanies their jobs.

Citations:

Chen, M.-C., Fang, S.-H., & Fang, L. (2013). The effects of aromatherapy in relieving symptoms related to job stress among nurses. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 21(1), 87–93. doi: 10.1111/ijn.12229

Sung, S. N., & Eun, Y. (2007). The Effect of Aromatherapy on Stress of Nurses Working in Operating Room. Journal of Korean Medicine of Adult Nursing, 19. Retrieved from https://www.koreamed.org/article/0094JKAAN/2007.19.1.1

Mi-Yeon Cho, Eun Sil Min, Myung-Haeng Hur, and Myeong Soo Lee, “Effects of Aromatherapy on the Anxiety, Vital Signs, and Sleep Quality of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Patients in Intensive Care Units,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 381381, 6 pages, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/381381.

Capsol Team

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