Aromatherapy – Relax, Breath, Energize (Guest Blogger)
The use of essential oils dates back 5,000 years ago, but are finally making a comeback in our healthcare system. Research has shown that essential oils can be beneficial in many ways including decreasing nausea, fatigue, pain, and STRESS.
High Stress Situations can affect your mental status, emotional status, and physical responses! They can even affect the sympathetic nervous system, hypothalamus, adrenal cortex, immune system.
Work-related stress can cause physical, mental and behavioral symptoms such as:
- high blood pressure
- sleep disorders
- GI problems
- difficulty concentrating
- anger control problems
- complaining about others
Nurses, physicians, and other health care workers have some of the highest levels of occupational stress. It’s no question that lowering stress levels can be beneficial to our own physical and mental health, making self-care critical but something health care workers frequently lack.
But lowering stress can actually be just as beneficial for the hospital organizations from a business and patient-centered outlook as well. If I was a patient, I think my satisfaction level would be highly dependent upon whether or not my nurse was complaining about others, nervous, agitated, had anger control problems, was forgetful, and was greatly fatigued…. just a thought!
In the United States it is estimated that the cause of stress and stress-related problems to organizations to be $150 billion annually (Chen, et al. 2013)!
Studies have shown that:
- Wearing lavender oil for inhalation decreased stress at work among nurses and decreased stress-related symptoms such as lack of patience, agitation feeling, anger, forgetfulness, work-related errors
- Wearing essential oil mixtures or rose water decreased nurses mental exhaustion and/or moderate burnout
- Nursing staff reported feeling less work-related stress, less overwhelmed feelings, increase in feeling well equipped to handle stressors at work, and an increase in having optimal energy at work after 30 days of having essential oils diffused in the work-place. 84% of nursing staff strongly agreed and 10% of staff agreed that diffusing the oils contributed to a positive work environment.
- After a 12-week period of regular on-site aromatherapy massage and music significantly reduced anxiety levels, decreased number of sick leave, and increased job satisfaction for emergency room nurses
Here are some popular essential oils that can help decrease stress:
- Tea Tree
In conclusion, utilizing aromatherapy for nursing staff in forms of inhalation or massage could greatly improve staff satisfaction and self-care for staff, which could not only save the organization money in regards to sick leave, turn over rate, work-related errors, and more, but also improve patient satisfaction.
Allard, M., & Katseres, J. (2016). CE: Using Essential Oils to Enhance Nursing Practice and for Self-Care. American Journal of Nursing, 116(2), pp. 42-49. Retrieved from: http://journals.lww.com/ajnonline/Fulltext/2016/02000/CE___Using_Essential_Oils_to_Enhance_Nursing.23.aspx
Chen, M., Fang, S., & Fang, L. (2013). The effects of aromatherapy in relieving symptoms related to job stress among nurses. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 21(1). Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijn.12229/full
Davis, C., et al. (2005). The effects of aromatherapy massage with music on the stress and anxiety levels of emergency nurses. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 8(1-2), pp. 43-50. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S157462670500008X
Johnson, K., et al. (2017). Use of aromatherapy to promote a therapeutic nurse environment. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing. Retrieved from:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964339717300186
McBride, T., & Sturges, T. (2012). Opening minds closed to the possibilities of using essential oils. Living mag. Retrieved from: https://usingessentialoils.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Vanderbilt-Study-Article-Winter-2013.pdf
Varney, E. & Buckle, J. (2013). Effect of Inhaled Essential Oils on Mental Exhaustion and Moderate Burnout: A Small Pilot Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(1). Retrieved from: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2012.0089
GUEST BLOGGER: Samantha Ault is a a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner student at The Ohio State University. She graduates this May. Currently, she is a RN at Harding.