Aromatherapy patches (also known as aromatherapy stickers) are a simple, first-line nursing intervention. While also used in home environments, they were initially developed for hospital use.
There are several different essential oil patch form factors available on the market, but all have a “sticker”-like quality and can adhere either directly to the skin or to certain types of clothing, depending on the adhesive used during manufacture. Patches that are meant to be placed on the skin, like Ascents® Patches, were designed with a proprietary occlusive barrier that prevents the essential oils in the patch from making direct contact with skin.
Once applied to skin or clothing, the essential oils begin to diffuse therapeutic scent, thereby mitigating symptoms such as nausea (PONV, CINV, morning sickness) or anxiety, depending on the patch’s specific formula. The patches are designed to work for up to 8 hours while keeping the scent close enough to the patient that it is unobtrusive to others in the immediate vicinity.
What are the benefits of aromatherapy patches?
Aromatherapy patches have many benefits. One is that they are single-patient use. This means there is no risk of contamination via viruses or bacteria from other users. While this type of contamination is uncommon, liquid oils are sometimes used in hospital environments, and this can lead to the transmission of illnesses or infection. Aromatherapy patches and stickers are a safe and sanitary way to provide symptomatic relief for patients in clinical environments.
Aromatherapy stickers and patches are also convenient. They do not need to be held, touched, or otherwise manipulated once applied. This means that even patients with mobility or dexterity challenges are able to use them without issue. It’s also important to note that aromatherapy patches cannot “spill” and therefore burn the skin or cause a slipping hazard in the way a liquid oil might if used incorrectly or a mistake in usage made.
How are aromatherapy patches used?
Aromatherapy patches are used in hospitals and other clinical environments for symptomatic relief of nausea and anxiety. One of their most popular uses -- when manufactured to be metal-free -- is for the mitigation of anxiety for those who have difficulty undergoing MRIs. Because MRIs can feel quite understandably claustrophobic due to their design, and they are often time-consuming, anxiety is a common patient reaction. Metal-free aromatherapy patches, like Ascents Patches, are an excellent way to help patients feel calmer and more relaxed before and during their scans.
Besides MRIs, aromatherapy patches and stickers are popular in post-surgical units to mitigate postoperative nausea and vomiting, in chemotherapy infusion centers to decrease nausea (CINV) and feelings of stress, and in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) practices and birthing centers for maternal health challenges including morning sickness and labor pain/anxiety.
Finally, a growing use for essential oil patches is to help care for the patient caregivers on the front lines, including nurses, technicians, and medical assistants. Because they are unobtrusive, no-mess, easy-to-use and last for many hours, aromatherapy stickers, and patches are able to help clinicians stay calm during shifts, as well as recover from stress during breaks or after their workdays come to an end.
Aromatherapy patches: simple, safe, and effective
While one of the newest aromatherapy interventions on the market, essential oil patches are quickly becoming one of the most-requested products by patients suffering from anxiety and nausea in clinical settings. Ascents aromatherapy patches feature evidence-based essential oil formulas that have demonstrated efficacy in mitigating these distressing symptoms, leading to better care outcomes overall.