Survey Results – Answers from Aromatherapy Professionals

CAM in Hospital Settings

Hello

Last week I wrote about the gradual emergence of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicines) into the modern medical system. I described the process that generally needs to happen in order for these medicines to be available to use in a clinical environment. The process is long and complicated and costs large amounts of money for these changes to happen. If you missed last week’s article, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils – In Clinical Settings, you may like to go back and read it. 🙂

Survey Results - Answers From Aromatherapy Professionals, youraromatherapystore.com, header pic

Despite this process taking significant money and time, the availability of alternative medicine in hospitals is happening! It may not be happening as quickly as some of us would like, but it is something that must be done properly.

A significant portion of this article will describe some survey results regarding the use of essential oils in hospital settings as reported by professional aromatherapists. The findings are very interesting!

Survey Results from Professional Aromatherapists

In an article located on the Tisserand Institute website (a respected authority), aromatherapy practitioners in the United States and several other countries (Australia, UK, and France) were surveyed; they were asked for the most common sites where aromatherapy is practiced in their facilities. Here is an overview of their results in no specific order:

Hospice/Palliative Care – This area was mentioned by all polled aromatherapists. Seriously ill and dying patients benefit from aromatherapy designed to sooth anxiety, relieve dry/painful mouth, ease labored respiration and aid in relieving wound odors.

Perioperative Areas – Essential oils can help reduce anxiety prior to procedures by lowering heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. Oils also help ease post-operative nausea.

Labor and Delivery Units – Many expectant mothers are requesting essential oils during labor to alter the perception of pain, soothe anxiety, and in some cases to speed up delivery.

NICU – Most professional aromatherapists prefer to avoid using essential oils around newborns. However, a recent study demonstrated positive results with the use of aroma patches to help alleviate the suffering of addicted babies to prenatal maternal opiate use. (See more info on this below)

Pediatric Units – Children also suffer anxiety and fear during hospitalization and essential oils can help reduce these symptoms.

Medical-Surgical Units – Essential oils are used to soothe anxiety and stress related to hospitalization, alleviate wound odors and to alter the perception of pain.

Psychiatric/Addiction Services – The use of aromatherapy in this area helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It also can encourage discussion in individual and group therapy.

Patients undergoing active withdrawal from alcohol or drugs can suffer tremors, chills, nausea/vomiting, restlessness, and anxiety. Aromatherapy has been used as an adjunct therapy to lessen the severity or alter the perception of some of these symptoms.

Intensive Care Units – Patients in these units are often restless and anxious. Aromatherapy combined with hand or foot massage has proven beneficial.

Emergency Departments – The use of essential oils is limited in this area due to the need for rapid and sometimes life-saving interventions. However, there is at least one study which examined the effect of inhaling lavender in preschool children prior to intravenous catheter insertion. Results were positive.

Outpatient Centers (cardiac rehab/sleep centers/cancer care/other outpatient units) – Aromatherapy has been used in these clinical settings as well. Patients using essential oils had overall better sleep as indicated by their PSQI scores.

Wound Care Centers (inpatient and outpatient): – Generally speaking, direct application with diluted essential oils with regard to wound care is not performed in North America. However, this practice is utilized in other countries.

Thanks to the aromatherapists that participated in this poll we can see that aromatherapy and the use of essential oils are being used in many clinical settings throughout the world. Sweet! 🙂

A Canadian Pilot Project to Explore Complementary Therapy in Palliative Care

During my research for this article, I was happy to find out about a pilot project performed in my home country, Canada. The objective of this study was to increase patients’/families’ experience of quality and satisfaction with end-of-life care and to determine whether therapies such as massage, aromatherapy, reiki and therapeutic touch could enhance symptom management.

Survey Results - Answers From Aromatherapy Professionals, picture of a Canadian Flag
Canadian Flag

This project was conducted north of Toronto in the Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, in a 15-bed inpatient palliative care unit.

The results of this project reported a significant decrease of pain, anxiety, low mood, restlessness and discomfort and a significant increase in inner stillness and peace. This can only be a good thing, right?

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Essential Oil Study in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)

Another interesting pilot study I came across involved the use of essential oils to ease the symptoms of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome).

NAS is defined as a group of problems that occur in a newborn who was exposed to addictive opiate drugs while in the womb. When the baby is born they start to experience narcotic withdrawal. How sad is that?

Survey Results - Answers From Professional Aromatherapists, picture of crying baby
Baby

Two physicians from the University of Kentucky conducted a pilot study. They evaluated the use of Lavender and Roman Chamomile essential oils as an adjunct therapy to help reduce agitation in these young patients. The oils were placed on a fabric bolster that surrounded the babies.

Preliminary results were positive. Babies that received the essential oil therapy shortened their stay in NICU by an average of 6.4 days. They also required smaller doses of regular medications than the infants that had standard care. I think this is wonderful news!

Conclusion

Essential oils and traditional medicines are slowly making their way into our modern medical field. As I mentioned in last week’s article, the process is slow and in my opinion this is OK. Everyone’s welfare needs to be considered if the process is to be done properly. There are many factors that need to be considered and studied.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found this article interesting. I really liked learning about the survey results provided by the aromatherapists in different countries. I love learning new things, especially if the topic is Aromatherapy! 🙂 As you probably know by now, I am a huge fan of essential oils! LOL

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If you have any thoughts about this article or aromatherapy in general please feel free to use the boxes below to leave your comments. I love hearing from you!

Well, I wish you all a very nice week ahead. Take care and stay happy and healthy!

Angela (Founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)

Essential oils are very potent. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication speak to your doctor before using essential oils. Some oils are not recommended for children. Some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing. Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness contact a medical professional. This information is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils – In Clinical Settings

The Growing Popularity of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Hello

Essential oils are becoming more and more popular in the western world. Many people and even organizations are discovering and utilizing them to influence moods and promote overall health. Schools and businesses are incorporating them into their daily routines to increase focus, creativity and productivity. I think this is great!

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils - In Clinical Settings

Essential Oils are considered a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Other CAM therapies/medicines include massage, reiki, music therapy and emotional support pet visits in clinics. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), people in the United States spend over $30.2 billion annually on complementary health approaches. Wow!

If Complementary and Alternative Medicine is so popular, why don’t we see it offered more often in clinical settings? I am not suggesting that complementary medicine is rare to see in hospitals, in fact, I work in a hospital setting and I know that every Tuesday is Pet Day. I see all kinds of cats and dogs roaming the hospital with their owners…this is awesome. I am also aware of Music Therapy that is happening. These are truly awesome things!

For the purpose of this article, I am going to be discussing aromatherapy and essential oils specifically, and why don’t hospitals and clinics offer this medicine on a regular basis? It is clear more and more people have learned about the benefits of this practice, and have even used it in their homes. So I have studied this topic and have found some answers. 🙂

Patient Satisfaction Surveys

It is my understanding that patient satisfaction surveys play a part in obtaining hospital funding (in many locations), and it is through these surveys that we are seeing the emergence and gradual use of complementary services as supportive therapy for patients. The goal of complementary medicine is to decrease patient anxiety, manage stress and to increase patient satisfaction scores on the satisfaction survey. I’d say it’s a win-win situation.

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils - In Clinical Settings

So, yes, CAM is gradually becoming more accessible to the public in clinical settings, such as hospitals. But why is it taking so long to get established into the mainstream medical system?

Hospital-Based Aromatherapy Programs

While essential oils are “natural” this does not always mean they are safe to use, especially in the presence of a variety of people with a variety of ailments and medical conditions.

Establishing a hospital-based aromatherapy program is very in-depth and complicated. There are policies and procedures that must be followed to keep everyone safe.

The first step in creating a hospital-based aromatherapy program is to generate a formal policy and procedure manual. This will then be submitted for approval by the hospital’s Institutional Review Board. The job of the review board is to ensure that any proposed project follows ethical, moral and regulatory guidelines. As you can imagine, this process takes time and money, something that most hospitals don’t have an abundance of.

Here is a list of issues that are usually addressed when creating a formalized policy:

  • Patient education with regard to aromatherapy treatment
  • Informed consent
  • Staff training and/or certification
  • List of oils deemed safe
  • Method(s) of application
  • Infection control issues
  • Safe storage and disposal of essential oils
  • Safety data sheets (SDS)
  • Physician order vs. nursing intervention
  • Record keeping protocols
  • Cost considerations

The above list is not comprehensive; there are likely other issues to be addressed as well.

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It’s a Process with Challenges and Considerations

As mentioned above, it is a long and complicated process to have CAM integrated into the medical system. I think one of the biggest obstacles facing the integration of complementary medicine is money. Who will pay for these services? Will they be covered by insurance? Will it be paid for privately? There are many questions that need to be answered.

Additional training for doctors and healthcare professionals is another issue. Also, who will pay for necessary research? I don’t think modern medical research in America spends enough time studying aromatherapy and essential oils or other complementary therapies yet, so this is a challenge to be addressed.

Another increasingly common challenge at the moment is the unauthorized use of aromatherapy in hospitals. Patients who are used to practicing aromatherapy at home often bring their own oils into the hospital. While in some places this may be allowed, this can cause problems for other patients, staff and visitors. Especially if the hospital does not have formal guidelines or a policies and procedures manual to deal with emergency situations involving essential oils.

Conclusion

I certainly learned a lot this week as I read various articles on this topic. There were many things that I hadn’t even considered before that make the inclusion of complementary medicine into clinical environments a great task. I believe it will take many years to fully incorporate all these awesome alternative medicines into our mainstream medical system. It will be worth the wait though!

The history of essential oils and aromatics is quite interesting. This practice is not new, in fact, it has been around for thousands of years! I am very happy to see the gradual acceptance and acknowledgment of this traditional medicine.

I sure appreciate that you took the time to read through this article. I would love to hear any comments you have on this topic. Please use the comment box below. I love hearing from people and would like to hear what you have to say.

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Stay happy and healthy!

Angela (Founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)

Essential oils are very potent. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication speak to your doctor before using essential oils. Some oils are not recommended for children. Some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing. Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness contact a medical professional. This information is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.