Using Essential Oils to Enhance Nursing Practice and for Self-Care

Am J Nurs. 2016 Feb;116(2):42-9; quiz 50-1. doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000480495.18104.db.


With the growing popularity of integrative medicine, essential oils have found their way back into health care. Essential oils provide a simple way to alleviate certain physical symptoms, promote emotional well-being, and provide comfort. This article, the last in a five-part series on holistic nursing, discusses the administration and common uses of essential oils; their reported benefits, potential risks, and contraindications; and the current state of associated research. The authors focus specifically on the inhalation, both direct and by diffusion, as well as the topical application of essential oils, providing guidance for their use in acute care, self-care, community nursing, and long-term care that will enable readers to incorporate this modality into nursing practice.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nursing Process*
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Self Care*


  • Oils, Volatile