Fragrant Fix Soothes Work Stress
Aromatherapy Massage May Ease On-the-Job Anxiety
Sept. 20, 2007 -- Stressed at work?
Aromatherapy massage, accompanied by soothing music, may help.
New research from Australia shows that emergency room nurses -- who
certainly have a high-stress job -- calmed down when they got brief
aromatherapy massage sessions at work.
The nurses were in their late 30s and had worked as nurses for nearly eight
years, on average. They rated their anxiety level at the start of the
More than half of the nurses had moderate to extreme anxiety levels -- but
that was before they settled in for an aromatherapy massage.
During the aromatherapy massage sessions, the nurses chose from a menu of
fragrances that included rose, lavender, lime, and an "ocean breeze"
mix of lavender, ylang ylang, bergamot, and patchouli scents.
Each nurse sat in a chair and listened to New Age music played through
headphones. A licensed massage therapist spritzed the scent chosen by the nurse
above the nurse's head. The therapist then massaged the nurse's shoulders, mid
back, neck, scalp, forehead, and temples for 15 minutes.
The nurses unwound during the massage -- only 8% of them reported moderate
to extreme anxiety after their massage.
It's not clear what relaxed the nurses most: the aromatherapy, the massage,
the music -- or just taking a break from their hectic day.
Future studies should be done to figure that out, note the researchers, who
included Marie Cooke, PhD, RN, MSPD, deputy head of the School of Nursing and
Midwifery at Australia's Griffith University.
The findings appear in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
(Have you tried aromatherapy
for stress? Tell us how it worked for you and get feedback from an expert
on WebMD's Stress Management: Melanie Eller, RN, MSN, message board.)