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"It's a stressful job," said Laurie Theeke, professor and director of the Ph.D. Program at the School of Nursing and nurse practitioner in the Department of Family Medicine. "You're dealing with life or death or chronic illness every day. And people in all of the health professions are stressed. This doesn't just have application to nursing. It's about workplace stress." Stressful times, lonely patients
Aromatherapy might improve patients' moods, too, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, when hospital patients can't receive visitors.
"I work nightshift weekends," Reven said. "Last weekend, several of the patients tugged on my heart strings. They missed their family and friends so much during this time of 'no visitors.' I just wanted to be able to do something more for them. An aromatherapy patch with lavender or citrus might have helped.
"As a nurse, I spend a lot of time at the bedside of very ill people," she added. "I often think, 'How would I feel if it was me?' I get very sad sometimes watching the suffering, and yes, I personally use aromatherapy to help with my resiliency."
Loneliness isn't just unpleasant. It's also a predictor of depression, functional decline and mortality.
"People do die of loneliness," Theeke said.
The research results also suggest that aromatherapy might make people outside of healthcare settings feel better as they shelter in place to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. After all, a patch on an employment badge isn't the only way to use essential oils. Someone can plug in an essential oil diffuser or simply add a drop of pure lavender essential oil to a teaspoon of lotion.
Reven emphasized the importance of buying essential oils only from reputable sources.
"There are two professional organizations that can give the layperson credible information about where to find essential oils and how to use them safely: the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy," she said.
But you don't have to buy anything special to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy. Common household items, used during common household tasks, can be enough.
"Baking is aromatherapy," Reven said. "Cutting up an orange is aromatherapy. We need some aromatherapy all the time." Source:
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