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Giving emergency nurses aromatherapy massages with music dramatically reduced stress levels
Date:9/22/2007

Nurses working in an accident and emergency department reported that their anxiety levels fell dramatically when they were given aromatherapy massages while listening to music, according to research in the September issue of the UK-based Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Two 12-week alternative therapy sessions were provided over the course of a year. 86 nurses participated in the study, with 39 taking part in both the summer and winter sessions.

Researchers found that 60 per cent of the staff - 54 per cent in summer and 65 per cent in winter - suffered from moderate to extreme anxiety.

But this fell to just eight per cent, regardless of the season, once staff had received 15-minute aromatherapy massages while listening to relaxing new-age music.

The study also sought to examine whether there were any seasonal differences in stress levels.

Theres always been a perception that staff feel more stressed in the winter months when they deal with more serious respiratory and cardiac cases and the stress levels we recorded would seem to support this says Marie Cooke, Deputy Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

But when we analysed the workload figures and case distribution we found little difference between winter and summer patient levels during the study periods. Staff dealt with just over 10,700 patients each season and the number of deaths and the percentage of patients in each triage category (which determines how quickly people need to be seen) was fairly consistent between the seasons.

However the fact remains that providing alternative therapy was more effective during the winter months. During both study periods the number of staff feeling stressed fell to eight per cent, but there was a greater reduction in winter, when the number fell from 65 per cent, than in the summer, when the pre-massage score was 54 per cent.

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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Source:Eurekalert

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