The Effect of Aromatherapy on Insomnia and Other Common Symptoms Among Patients With Acute Leukemia
Oncol Nurs Forum. 2017 Jul 1;44(4):E185-E193. doi: 10.1188/17.ONF.E185-E193.
Author Information: Blackburn L, Achor S, Allen B, Bauchmire N, Dunnington D, Klisovic RB, Naber SJ, Roblee K, Samczak A, Tomlinson-Pinkham K, Chipps E.
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To determine if the use of aromatherapy improves insomnia and other common symptoms in hospitalized patients with newly diagnosed acute leukemia.
DESIGN: A randomized, crossover, washout trial.
SETTING: An inpatient acute leukemia unit at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard L. Solove Research Institute of the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University in Columbus.
SAMPLE: 50 patients who were newly diagnosed with acute leukemia and hospitalized to receive their initial four weeks of intensive induction chemotherapy.
METHODS: Patients were offered a choice of three scents to be used during the trial: lavender, peppermint, or chamomile. Each patient was randomized to receive either the chosen aromatherapy intervention or a placebo intervention during alternate weeks, with a washout period in between. Sleep quality and other common symptoms were measured.
MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Aromatherapy, sleep, insomnia, pain, tiredness, drowsiness, nausea, lack of appetite, shortness of breath, depression, anxiety, and well-being.
FINDINGS: Most patients reported poor quality sleep at baseline, but aromatherapy had a statistically significant positive impact. Improvements were noted in tiredness, drowsiness, lack of appetite, depression, anxiety, and well-being because of aromatherapy.
CONCLUSIONS: Aromatherapy is a viable intervention for improving insomnia and other symptoms commonly experienced by patients with acute leukemia.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Oncology nurses can employ aromatherapy safely and inexpensively, and with minimal training, as an effective tool in decreasing many symptoms that plague patients with leukemia. Patients can exercise a greater sense of control over their treatment environments through the use of aromatherapy.