Lavender Essential Oil: Therapeutic Benefits for Nurse Practitioners by Alice Compton
Nurse practitioners are essential for ensuring great patient outcomes. When their body isn't at its best, it can become a detriment to their work. Interestingly, aromatherapy offers numerous advantages for those working in healthcare. Researchers from the University of Arizona (1) found that aromatherapy is proving successful at stress reduction. Occupational stress isn't atypical across nurse practitioners, but when it manifests, it can impede these professionals from providing effective and quality care. One reason that nurse practitioners are getting stressed is that they make up the shortfall of physicians across the country. A good example of this is Washington.
A 2021 Nursing Education study found that 4 counties in Washington were among the top 15 counties in the nation with the highest primary care worker shortages. (2)
In order to counter this shortfall, remote nurse practitioners in Washington are being utilized in different roles to provide urgent care treatment and front-line patient care. (3) These roles include being a family nurse practitioner, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, and a pediatric primary care nurse practitioner. As they become further stretched there is a need for stress relieving aids. And one such aid is an essential oil.
Of course, the benefits of essential oils are wide-ranging. Lavender Lavendula angustifolia essential oil, in particular, has been known to decrease inflammation, encourage wound healing, relieve insomnia and more. If you are a nurse practitioner (or in any stressful job), read on to know more about the therapeutic benefits of lavender essential oil and why it's important to incorporate it into your routine.
1. It has anti-inflammatory properties
Skin inflammation and burns are often painful and as such, they can be a distraction while working. Our post "A Glance at Eucalyptus Essential Oil" (4) mentions that eucalyptus oil can be used for fast pain relief due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, you can also use lavender essential oil on inflamed skin areas. Findings from a BMC Complimentary Medicine and Therapies study (5) explained that the liquid is potent, so a little goes a long way.
Because of the potency of essential oils, experts advise diluting essential oil in order to protect the skin from any possible negative reactions. You can dilute the lavender essential oil or any essential oils with a carrier (fatty or lipid) oil which is made from various plants such as coconut, moringa, grapeseed or other carrier oil before applying it to the affected area. For more ideas on carrier oils, see your article "Fixed Carrier Oils and Uses". (6)
2. It promotes wound healing
As a nurse practitioner, juggling multiple patient assessments and physical examinations in a day is common. However, dealing with pesky wounds on top of that can be uncomfortable. Thankfully, Lavender essential oil promotes wound healing. The oil can accelerate the repair of deep skin wounds. Similar to the last point, you'll have to dilute it prior to applying it to your wound. Depending on your wound's severity, you can gently massage the diluted oil onto the wound. An excellent carrier to consider for wound healing would be the Tamanu oil.
3. It can alleviate stress and anxiety
Nurse practitioners can encounter a lot of difficulties in their occupation. For one, a packed schedule of counseling and interpreting diagnostic tests can tire your body and your mind. Similarly, navigating through high-stress situations can take a toll on your mental well-being. You'll need to stay focused and alert if you're tasked to offer urgent care treatment. Thankfully, lavender essential oil can alleviate stress to ensure you stay mindful about your tasks. When inhaled, the oil can influence the autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, and hypothalamus to achieve changes in blood pressure and heart rate. These changes, in a nutshell, can reduce stress.
4. It can relieve insomnia
Working from home doesn't necessarily mean you have a better grasp of your daily sleep schedule. For example, taking too many shifts can disrupt your sleep and lead to insomnia. This is where lavender essential oil proves useful. Data published by Perspectives in Psychiatric Care (7) shares an experiment that nursing students participated in. Here, most students said that sleepiness and fatigue were reportedly the most common symptoms of their insomnia. So that being said, consider using lavender essential oil with a carrier oil in a roller ball on your wrists and neck to achieve a good night's rest. Alternatively, you can add it to an unscented lotion and apply to your chest and neck area. This way, you'll wake up well-rested and energized for your next shift.
Dilution rates vary from oil to oil, and this depends on the age and health of user as well as any safety precautions of oil(s) used. For further information on dilution rates, please visit Tisserand Institute - Essential Oil Education You can Trust or seek advice from a Certified or Clinical Aromatherapist.
For further information, visit the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) at Home | NAHA
written exclusively for Aromatherapy by Soul Essentials Duo
Anti-inflammatory effect of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.) essential oil prepared during different plant phenophases on THP-1 macrophages | BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)