WVU researcher finds that Aromatherapy may reduce nurses’ stress in the workplace


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Nursing can be one of the most rewarding professions, however, nurses also deal with stressful and exhausting situations.

Marian Reven, MSN RN-BC, WVU Ph.D. Student, and Registered Aromatherapist.

Marian Reven, MSN, RN-BC, WVU Ph.D. Student, is a Registered Aromatherapist and recently completed a pilot study about aromatherapy and reduction of feelings of stress and anxiety. The study was published in the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy.

Marian and her team– WVU researchers Janelle Humphrey-Rowan and Nina Moore– started off the eight-week study by having a focus group help them choose which essential oils they wanted to use for the aromatherapy patches.

“We had them smell several different patches and combinations,” explained Reven. “They ended up really liking one called ‘Refresh’ which is a combination of citruses, lemongrass, peppermint and it’s very refreshing.”

Once everything was organized for the study, nurse volunteers were recruited. They used the aromatherapy patches by sticking them to a badge card worn above the waist.

Reven said, “They were excited, they thought this was a great idea and they voluntarily did it to get educated, they learned how to use the patches and by the end, we had about 13 nurses who completed all the surveys and went into the analysis.”

According to Reven, the nurses had about a 40 to 50 percent reduction in perceived stress and anxiety when they wore the ‘Refreshing’ aromatherapy patch. About half of the original 19 who first started the study had never used aromatherapy before doing the trial and the other half had tried it before.

When asked if she was surprised by the outcome of her study, Reven said that she wasn’t surprised that stress and anxiety feelings went down, but she was surprised by how far they dropped. She said, “The nurses liked the patches and they would like to use the patches for themselves and eventually with patient care. They look forward to learning more and seeing what further research shows.”

Reven mentioned that colleagues in healthcare ask about aromatherapy even more now than before. In times of increased stress and uncertainty, many are turning to holistic approaches.

Also with the no visitor policy in hospitals, patients are lonelier than ever. “They’re so lonely, and the patients are sadder than ever so it could be a good thing to have aromatherapy patches to give more comfort,” explained Reven.

For those wishing to learn more about best practice with aromatherapy, Reven recommends two organizations– The Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) and the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists (NAHA). These professional organizations provide reliable information about pure essential oils, aromatherapy, and safe practice.

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