Background: More than 50% of all persons suffer from occupational and domestic stress. High stress levels may cause physical, mental,or social impairment, culminating in burnout syndrome. Regular use of premium-quality essential oils is able to markedly reduce the individual's stress level. A health promotion project for prevention of stress and burnout was undertaken to confirm the reduction of stress by the use of essential oils.
Methods: The study was performed at the Otto Wagner Spital in Vienna. Eighty-eight staff members of the hospital with evaluable enrollment questionnaires and 55 staff members with evaluable completion questionnaires were included in the study. The study participants were given the SOS stress roll-on consisting of 12 essential oils. The roll-on was applied at least 3 times a day for one month on the pulse zones on the wrists.
Results: At survey time point 1 on the day of enrollment in the study, the probands' stress rating on a scale from 1 (no stress) to 10 (very high stress) was on average 6.28. At the end of the observation period it was 5.24. The analysis of physical impairment due to stress (stress scale 1-8) demonstrated the significant benefit of aromatherapy among nursing staff (p = 0,036) and in persons older than 50 years of age (p = 0.012 and 0.025, respectively). The stress levels due to physical, psychological, and social stress between survey time point 1 and 2 showed marked, and partly significant, positive changes after the use of essential oils. For 27 participants, the questionnaires obtained at time point 1 and 2 could be assigned to the respective individuals. In this group, the overall stress levels as well as those in the sub-aspects showed the significant positive results of aromatherapy.
Conclusion: A large majority of the study participants were able to markedly reduce their stress associated impairment by the use of essential oils in the SOS stress roll-on. No allergic reactions or incompatibilities were observed.Selected essential oils of high quality may be recommended for the prevention and treatment of stress and burnout.