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Essential Oils May Lower Work Stress

Rosa & Lavender Aromas Help Nurses Relax

Essential Oils May Lower Work Stress

By Sean Zucker –

Humans will do all sorts of things to destress from work-related tension. Some turn to yoga, others prefer a glass of wine, and a few reach their Zen through excessive online shopping. Whatever method helps one person feel more mindful, others will likely try because these are stressful times. In fact, according to Gallup’s Global Emotions Report, adults worldwide are more stressed out than ever. Luckily, one traditional holistic calming tactic gained a bit more scientific credibility.

A recent study out of Semnan University in Iran found that the scent of essential oils can effectively reduce work-related stress. However, proponents of essential oils’ health benefits maintain this is nothing new. “Not only has science shown their aroma alone can stimulate the pleasure center of your brain, but the wondrous healing properties of essential oils can bolster the immune system; banish blue moods; boost energy and stamina; and lull your body into Zen-like relaxation,” Cal Orey, author of the Healing Power of Essential Oils, previously explained to WellWell.

The Semnan research team looked for more proof and focused entirely on hospital-staffed nurses, noting that the occupation suffers from high levels of job stress and related psychological problems. They specifically tested the ability of the aromas of rose and lavender oils to lower stress levels. The effort involved dividing 118 nurses into three groups, each with a designated scent. One group received lavender, another received a rose, and the last was given sesame oil as a placebo. None of the participants knew which scent they had.

Participant fastened their oil in a 0.5 milliliter(ml) vial to their shirt button during work shifts. Participants were exposed two hours a day for four weeks to their respective scent, roughly eight inches from their faces.

Initially, there was no significant difference in work stress between the groups. However, after the fourth week, groups given lavender and rose oils were recording significantly less occupational stress than the placebo group.

“During inhalation, essential oil molecules stimulate the olfactory nerves having direct links with the limbic system and are responsible for emotions,” the study authors wrote, adding that lavender and rose oil reduces these sympathetic stimulations, therefore, lowering stress levels.

“Aromatherapy using rose scent had a positive effect on the nurses’ job stress in the long run,” they continued. “Aromatherapy as a safe and non-pharmacologic method is suggested to be used by nurses to improve their comfort at the workplace.”

The study is the latest scientific examination of aromatherapy, which uses essential oils for stress relief and therapeutic benefits. Johns Hopkins University reports that humans have utilized aromatherapy for centuries. The university adds that other studies have suggested this practice may also help battle anxiety and depression, reduce nausea and dry mouth and fight insomnia.

Certain essential oils can also increase appetites for those who struggle with healthy eating, Johns Hopkins adds. The university also cites lavender as one of the four most effective and popular oils for enhancing health, along with tea tree, peppermint and lemon.

“Essential oils can lift your mood and make you feel good with just a whiff of their fragrance. For some people, they may even help alleviate the symptoms of various conditions,” the university concluded.





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