In this study, researchers at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Minnesota conducted a survey to determine how clinicians viewed the use of integrative approaches, particularly aromatherapy, in clinical practice. They reported their findings in an article published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The use of essential oils is growing in the U.S., but the attitudes, experience and beliefs of clinicians toward aromatherapy have not yet been studied.
To address this, the researchers surveyed 105 clinician attendees of an integrative medicine continuing education conference using an audience response system to obtain baseline information.
They reported response frequencies for each item and assessed non-parametric correlations by comparing agree/disagree statements with the statement: “In the last 12 months, I have used essential oils for myself and/or my family.”
The researchers found that the majority of the attendees (92.6 percent) personally used integrative medicine approaches besides aromatherapy.
A larger number (96.8 percent) also recommended these approaches to their patients.
More than half (61 percent) of the surveyed clinicians personally used essential oils, but even more (74 percent) expressed a desire to give essential oil recommendations or therapies to their patients.
However, only 21.9 percent felt confident that they can advise their patients well regarding safe use.
Statistical analysis showed that personal use of essential oils was highly correlated with clinician confidence in doling out advice about essential oils.
Based on these data, the researchers concluded that clinicians in the U.S. who are interested in integrative medicine wish to provide aromatherapy recommendations but do not, because of a lack of confidence in their knowledge of safe use.
Pearson ACS, Cutshall SM, Hooten WM, Rodgers NJ, Bauer BA, Bhagra A. PERSPECTIVES ON THE USE OF AROMATHERAPY FROM CLINICIANS ATTENDING AN INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE CONTINUING EDUCATION EVENT. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 12 July 2019;19(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-019-2572-y