Scent of rose oil effectively reduces work stress with daily use: study

Snuff out stress by sniffing these scents, a new study suggests.

Researchers in Iran concluded that the habit can effectively reduce job stress in an experiment that analyzed the aromas’ impact on nurses.

It’s great news for proponents of the healing effects of essential oils, who swear by these fix-all elixirs. The oils have soared in popularity in recent years. The global market is estimated to be worth $8.8 billion as of last year but is expected to skyrocket to $15.3 billion in the next five years.

Touted as a key player in health and wellness, aromatherapy — often used during massages or even daily via household oil diffusers — “influences the brain and nervous system,” the study authors wrote. Not only do they smell great, but the oils can be used to treat certain ailments and lull users to sleep.

“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 the oils reduce “sympathetic stimulations” that, in turn, lower stress.

The study analyzed the effects of rose and lavender oils on nurses.
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The study, published in the journal Explore, included 120 nurses who were divided into three groups based on oil scents: rose, lavender and, as a placebo, sesame. Throughout the trial, the participants were blind to what scents they received in 0.5 ml doses in a vial fastened to their first shirt button, just before their work shift.

On each participant, the tube was placed approximately 20 cm from their noses, leaving the exposed to the smells for two hours a day for four weeks. There were no “statistically significant differences” in stress until the fourth week, the authors added.

While both rose and lavender scents helped mitigate stress, the latter “was not considerable” compared to the group who used rose oil, researchers noted.

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

The oils, the authors claimed, “can reduce over-reliance of clinical nurses on medications for relieving their stress symptoms at the workplace.”

While researchers hailed the findings that could “reduce over-reliance” on medications that have stress-relieving properties, they admitted more research is necessary.

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